Every vehicle has a suspension system for it. The suspension is the part that holds the vehicle up, absorbs bumps, and allows it to steer. For the most part these systems wear out slowly, and with proper maintenance and periodic inspection they can be expected to experience only small, incremental problems. Sometimes the suspension will fail suddenly and dramatically and the vehicle will in effect fall down. This can be a couple of inches, until metal touches metal, and sometimes all the way only one or more wheels. This sort of sudden failure results when a spring or other weight-bearing part breaks, and is referred to as a collapse.
Potholes and rough roads take a big toll on vehicles. Especially the steering and suspension components. Hitting curbs, railroad tracks, or speed bumps can all cause damage. Potholes form when moisture seeps through small holes and cracks in the road surface. As temperatures rise and fall, the moisture expands and contracts due to thawing and freezing. This breaks up the pavement and, combined with the weight of passing cars, eventually chunks out, creating in a pothole.
There are some tips to help reduce the damage a pothole might cause. The tire is the most important cushion between a car and a pothole. Make sure tires have enough tread and are properly inflated by checking the doorjamb or owner’s manual, not the psi listed on the tire.