Subaru brakes hiss

When I got my 2001 Subaru Outback in December, the brakes were terrible and there was a strong vibration when stopped and in gear (auto). The dealer warranty replaced the engine mounts, brake master cylinder, power steering pump, and the source of the vibration, aftermarket axle shafts. The brakes are better but have never felt like other cars’ brakes. They just don’t bite. The dealer and my mechanic have said they look fine. There is an audible “tssssss” when I first apply pressure on the brake pedal, and when I pump the brakes they feel like they should (to me). I briefly inspected the rotors before purchase and didn’t see any excessive dirt or rust. The dealer warranty is over so I don’t want to pay someone to go fishing for my problem. Any thoughts? Thanks.

You may want to track down that hiss. It is likely a vacuum issue. It may be normal or there may be a small leak. You can use a length of garden hose like a stethoscope to pin point it.

Having to pump the brakes to get them firm usually means a master cylinder going bad. But an audible hiss is usually tracked to a leaking brake booster. I believe you have both going bad together.

Great. They just replaced the master cylinder. I probably should have specified that it’s a metallic hiss like spilling bearings. Does that change your advice? Thank you for your help. I may have to take it back since it seems my original complaint was not remedied. I must admit I’m curious about the garden hose technique…would brake booster checking be out of an amateur’s league?