Unfortunately it’s not IF a new asphalt driveway will crack, but WHEN it will crack.
Asphalt driveways cover a very large area so as the ground shifts and moves the asphalt needs to "give". That means it has to crack somewhere to give. In comparison, concrete driveways have what’s called controlled joints. Those joints or seams are put into the concrete while it’s still wet so as the concrete dries and cures, it will crack in those joints and not through the field. But with asphalt since there are no controlled joints, it's going to crack somewhere in the field of the asphalt.
There is really no 100% surefire way to keep an asphalt driveway from cracking other than spending hundreds or even a thousand or more dollars hiring a soils engineer to put together a paving design for you. And the truth is, even then there’s really no guarantee that it won’t crack and a soils engineer won't guarantee it ether! Cracking is a normal occurrence when it comes to asphalt driveways and is really nothing to be alarmed about unless it’s excessive.
Asphalt driveway cracks will need to be sealed to prevent further damage to the asphalt which is part of the ongoing maintenance of an asphalt driveway that will need to be performed on a regular basis. Asphalt repair contractors will provide crack sealing as part of a service package that includes seal coating.
Now, on the other hand, if your driveway is fairly new and you begin seeing an excessive amount of asphalt cracks within a couple of weeks or a couple of months after it’s been installed there are a variation of other issues to be concerned about. Even worse, if area’s begin alligatoring or cracking in a way that looks similar to an alligators back that could potentially be a much bigger issue. The asphalt more than likely was not installed properly. There may be sub-grade problems... but very unlikely. In this case, you’ll want to call the installation contractor back and have them take a look at it.
So, when it comes to cracks, you can count on them. But when and where? That’s the real question.
A lot of times we find the unethical, "fly by night" rip off contractors won't even call you back if you have problems. More than likely because they paved the driveway to thin and they know it. So they know exactly why you're calling and they won't return your phone calls and continue to avoid you. If you do get a hold of them, they'll promise to come back and fix the driveway... but never show up. This is all covered in our series "The Most Common Ways Asphalt Installation Contractors Rip Us Off and How To Avoid Them"™. So make sure you check that out before you hire any contractor.
On the other hand, if you have already had your driveway paved and think you may have been ripped off, file a complaint and we'll investigate it.