Asphalt is a commonly used material for residential and commercial driveways due to its affordability, durability, and ease of installation. However, like any other material, asphalt can deteriorate over time and become prone to damage. 

Driveway asphalt failure can be caused by a variety of factors, including weather conditions, heavy traffic, and improper installation. It is important to identify the signs of driveway asphalt failure to prevent further damage and ensure the safety of pedestrians and vehicles. 

In this article, we will discuss the various signs of driveway asphalt failure and provide tips for maintaining and repairing asphalt driveways to prolong their lifespan.

1. Cracking

Asphalt can crack due to changes in temperature, moisture, and heavy traffic. Small cracks can be repaired with crack sealant, but larger cracks may require full-depth repairs. Ignoring cracks can lead to water seeping into the asphalt, causing further damage and deterioration. 

2. Potholes

Potholes are another sign of driveway asphalt failure. They are caused by the expansion and contraction of water under the pavement surface. Potholes can be dangerous for pedestrians and vehicles, as they can cause accidents and damage to tires and suspension systems. Potholes should be repaired as soon as possible to prevent further damage and ensure safety. 

3. Fading

Asphalt can also fade over time due to exposure to sunlight and weather conditions. Fading is a cosmetic issue but can also indicate that the asphalt is becoming brittle and may be more prone to cracking and deterioration. Sealcoating can help to prevent fading and protect the asphalt surface from further damage.

4. Raveling

Raveling is the separation of the asphalt surface layer from the underlying layers. This can be caused by heavy traffic, moisture, and aging. Raveling can lead to potholes and cracks and should be repaired as soon as possible to prevent further damage. 

5. Depressions

Depressions are low areas in the asphalt surface and are often caused by heavy vehicles or improper installation. Depressions can collect water, which can lead to further damage and deterioration. Depressions can be repaired by adding additional asphalt or through patching. 

6. Bleeding

Bleeding is the accumulation of asphalt binder on the surface of the pavement. This can be caused by overuse of sealant or excessive asphalt binder in the mixture. Bleeding can make the surface slippery and dangerous for pedestrians and vehicles. It can also attract dirt and debris, which can further damage the asphalt surface. 

7. Failing Drainage

Poor drainage can cause water to accumulate on the asphalt surface, leading to damage and deterioration. Signs of poor drainage include standing water or areas where water has pooled on the surface. 

Failing drainage can also cause erosion and damage to the base layer of the driveway. It is important to address drainage issues promptly to prevent further damage and ensure a safe and functional driveway.

8. Rutting

Rutting is the formation of channels or grooves in the asphalt surface caused by the repeated passage of heavy vehicles. Rutting can lead to drainage problems, which can further damage the asphalt surface and compromise its structural integrity. 

Rutting should be repaired immediately to prevent further damage and ensure safe and functional driveways.


Identifying the signs of driveway asphalt failure is crucial for preventing further damage and ensuring safety. Cracking, potholes, fading, raveling, depressions, and bleeding are common signs of asphalt failure that should be addressed promptly to prevent further damage. 

Regular maintenance, such as seal coating and crack sealing, can help to extend the life of asphalt driveways and prevent costly repairs. Homeowners should consult with a professional asphalt contractor to determine the best course of action for repairing and maintaining their driveways. 

If you are in need of asphalt driveway repair services, look no further than Todd Heldt Excavating, Inc. We are dedicated asphalt paving contractors who are committed to providing our clients with high-quality workmanship and customer service. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you with your asphalt driveway repair needs!