Asphalt is very durable and may go years before it needs repairs, as the material doesn't expand and contract when it gets moist and doesn't get brittle in cold weather, as does concrete. However, this doesn't mean that asphalt is indestructible, and how you maintain it can affect its overall longevity. If you have an asphalt parking lot in a commercial facility or an asphalt driveway at home, note a few tips for keeping this material in good repair and improving its longevity and durability.
Oils and fluids
Asphalt has a petroleum base, so it's likely to break down when exposed to motor oil, gasoline, and other such common vehicle fluids. For your home's driveway, don't park your car on the asphalt if it has an oil leak, and clean up any spills as quickly as possible. If you work on your car at home, spread out a protective tarp first.
Regularly inspect a parking lot for oil spills and other such discoloration and have these areas cleaned and patched quickly, so that the bottom layers of asphalt don't start to dissolve and break apart. This can lead to large cracks or actual trenches in the asphalt that are more difficult to patch and repair.
You may not think that water affects asphalt since asphalt doesn't expand and contract like concrete, but asphalt is very soft and porous and pitted; water can easily seep into the asphalt and start to soften it. Be sure your property is graded to keep water from running onto the asphalt, or grade the asphalt surface itself so that there is less risk of standing water. Use a sealant on the asphalt regularly so that you cover over those pores and pits and there is no chance for water to seep through and soften the material.
Because asphalt is softer than concrete, it can be easier to create trenches, soft patches, and other such damage from the weight of vehicles alone. Avoid parking your heavy caravan on asphalt at home, and ensure that you direct heavy vehicles away from your parking lot in a commercial facility. Asphalt gets softer in hot weather, so every summer you should inspect the asphalt more often for soft spots and worn areas. These should be filled in and tamped down as quickly as possible. Sealing your asphalt, as mentioned above, will also keep it stronger and less likely to show tire marks and other worn spots during the summer months.