Steering Marks on Asphalt Paving

Steering marks on asphalt are an issue. They are natural on new asphalt paving…whether it’s new asphaltic concrete or asphalt seal coating. It can take up to 2 years for new asphalt paving to fully harden, but we’ve seen marks on 5 year-old asphalt paving on a warm day.

It’s the shear force from tires turning causing the marks. Properly designed asphalt paving doesn’t have a problem with vertical loads of traffic driving over it on highways or streets. New asphalt cannot withstand the shear or turning forces. It is much weaker than concrete. Warm days are the worst, since the asphalt softens from the heat and loses strength.

Keeping the vehicle moving when turning the wheels helps. Don’t let the vehicle remain stationary and turn the front wheels. Keep it moving…even a little bit. The good news is these marks will go away in time from weathering. It will harden with age. Patience is needed.

Also, newer asphalt is very pliable and subsequent traffic will re-compact and flatten existing marks. Taking a tamper, hammer, sledgehammer, or just stepping on the marks will help them fade away too.

Any deep tire marks can be fixed by reheating the asphalt and smoothing over with a heaving asphalt tool (the “iron”). It’s best to wait a couple years for the asphalt to cure before doing this. Letting the asphalt heal from weathering and subsequent traffic is usually adequate for the marks to fade away.

If you can’t live with these marks, then install concrete paving or interlocking paving stones.

(The picture above is from a driveway in Studio City. The tire mark below is from La Crescenta.)

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