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As long as your driveway isn’t taking a beating from really heavy trucks, it won’t require much maintenance. Depending on use and your climate, typically, it should only need resealing every three years or so (yearly for concrete). Most homeowners will have asphalt driveways (though stamped concrete and interlocking stone are other potential materials), so you’ll want to use a latex sealant for maximum effectiveness.
Summertime is the best time of year to reseal your driveway. Why? For one thing, the heat will make the sealant dry quicker. Heat also makes material expand, and when the driveway is at full expansion, the sealant can reach all the pores in the driveway more easily — making it a more effective process.
If your driveway has a few small cracks, you should fill them quickly on your own. You should be able to get an asphalt crack repair kit at your local hardware store. Your goal here is to prevent water from sneaking into those cracks. If you don’t, when that water begins to freeze and thaw, it will start to heave the asphalt out of place, damaging the integrity of your driveway. When it gets to that point, you’ll be looking at a full replacement — so address cracks quickly while they’re small.
What causes cracks? Well, oil for one, so if your car is leaking fluids, get it fixed quickly. Tree roots are powerful, and can grow underneath the driveway, eventually pushing upwards through it. Don’t have any major trees or shrubs close to the driveway if you can help it. Finally, heavy automobiles can cause a lot of wear and tear over time. Your car, truck, or van are probably OK, but if you’ve got lots of big trucks using your driveway daily, you might want to consider using a material stronger than asphalt.