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Subaru ABS & strut safety

Sister’s 1998 Subaru Outback ABS system failed 2 years ago and her mechanic instructed to just pull fuse rather than replace because of the car’s age. Doesn’t sound right to me but it passes inspection so I guess it was ok advice. Now with an oil change, the mechanic said that the front struts need to be replaced soon. My sister has no money and says she knows a place that will pass her on inspection. What kind of safety issues are we talking about? What kind of cost? Not that she’ll listen, but should I tell her the car is unsafe and should be taken off the road? Would the car be ok if she at least replaced the struts? (She lives where there is heavy snowfall in the winter, in case that affects your answer).


You haven’t told us how many miles on the Subaru, but if the struts have never been replaced they are likely due. The struts keep the tires firm on the road, so they are important. Not replacing struts can also cause issues like cupping , accelerating the need for tire replacement. Struts are generally a one time replacement cost for this car. I would call around and get some pricing on them. I got a lot of lifetime warranted strut replacements for a reasonable price from Sears. An 4 wheel alignment should be done at the same time.

On the ABS, so long as she is obviously aware the ABS won’t work when intended, the car can be driven – after all the whole world did without ABS for a long time. On the other hand, if she is going to keep the car, then I would get a price for proper replacement and save up to that end.