Why Does a Push-to-start Car Won't Start and Brake Lock

Push to Start Car Won’t Start Brake Locked? [Solved]

Experiencing a locked brake in your push-to-start car can be frustrating, especially when it prevents your vehicle from starting. Understanding why this happens and how to resolve it can save you time and hassle.

In this guide, we’ll discuss the common reasons why a push-to-start car’s brake may lock, how to troubleshoot this issue, and what steps you can take to get your vehicle running smoothly again. Let’s start.

Why Does a Push-to-start Car Won’t Start and Brake Lock?

A push-to-start car may not start and have a locked brake due to a bad brake light switch or electrical issues. That said, there can be more reasons why you experience this frustrating issue. Let us explain.

Brake Light Switch

The most common reason for a push-to-start car not starting and the brake being locked is a faulty brake light switch. This switch is located near the brake pedal and is responsible for signaling the car’s computer that the brake pedal is depressed.

If the switch fails or becomes misaligned, the computer may not recognize that the brake is engaged, preventing the car from starting.

To fix a faulty brake light switch causing a push-to-start car not to start and the brake to be locked, locate the switch near the brake pedal and inspect it for damage or misalignment. Adjust the switch if necessary and if the switch is damaged or cannot be adjusted, you will have to replace it with a new one.

Low Brake Fluid

Another common cause is low brake fluid levels. The brake system needs hydraulic pressure to engage the brakes. When the fluid level is low it can prevent the braking system from building enough pressure to release the brakes.

This can eventually result in a locked brake and difficulty starting the car. So, fill the brake fluid and check if it helps to fix the issue. You can consider a brake fluid alternative if you are in an emergency.

Brake System Malfunction

A malfunction in the brake system, such as a stuck brake caliper or a faulty brake master cylinder, can also cause the brake to lock. This typically occurs due to wear and tear as well as a lack of maintenance from your end.

So, inspect the brake system for damage, wear, or leaks. Then you will be required to repair or replace damaged parts, flush, and bleed the brake system to remove air, and test the brakes for proper function. 

Battery Issues

A weak or dead battery can prevent the push-to-start system from working properly, as it may not have enough power to engage the starter motor. We have seen in some cases, the brake lock as a safety feature to prevent the car from rolling if the battery is too weak to engage the brakes.

If this is the case, first verify the battery’s condition using a multimeter or by jump-starting the car. If the battery is dead, recharge or replace it.

Electrical Issues

Various electrical issues, such as a blown fuse or a malfunctioning relay, can also prevent the push-to-start system from working correctly and cause the brake to lock. 

To verify if this is the culprit, inspect the fuse box for any blown fuses related to the push-to-start system or brake system. Replace any blown fuses with new ones of the same rating. In addition, you should check the relays associated with the push-to-start system and brake system to find and replace any malfunctioning relays.

What to do If Push-to-Start is not Working and the Brake is Locked? 

If your push-to-start system is not working and the brake is locked, follow these steps.

First, check the brake light switch for alignment and functionality. Then, ensure the brake fluid level is adequate. If everything is in order, inspect the brake system for damage or malfunction and test the battery and electrical system. If the issue persists or you’re unsure, consult a professional mechanic for further assistance.

Can Pressing the Brake Pedal a Few Times Resolve the Issue?

If the brake is locked and the push-to-start system is not working, pressing the brake pedal a few times may help resolve the issue. Sometimes, the brake pedal sensor may not register that the brake is depressed, preventing the push-to-start system from engaging.

Pressing the brake pedal firmly several times can help ensure that the sensor is activated. If pressing the brake pedal does not resolve the issue, we recommend following the troubleshooting steps we highlighted or consulting a professional mechanic for further assistance.

How to Start a Vehicle that has Push-to-start Feature?

To start a vehicle with a push-to-start feature, follow these steps:

  • Keep the key fob with you inside the vehicle. Some vehicles require the key fob to be inside the car for the push-to-start system to work.
  • Push the brake pedal all the way down. This is a safety feature that ensures the vehicle is in a safe starting condition.
  • Locate the start button, which is typically located on the dashboard or center console. Press and hold the button until the engine starts. The engine should start smoothly if the battery is charged and the key fob is detected.
  • Once the engine has started, you can release the brake pedal. The engine will continue to run as long as the key fob remains inside the vehicle.

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