What do I do if my car won’t start and my brake is hard?

I went to start my car this morning and I couldn’t press the brake to start it. I think the brakes are locked or something and I don’t know why. What do I do if my brakes are locked and my car won’t start?

Find out if you’re getting ripped off on your car insurance in less than two minutes.
No spam · No long forms · No fees
Find savings (100% Free)
rating white
3.5k Ratings
Answer provided by
Bianca (Bee) Davis
Answered on May 02, 2022
Sorry about your brakes! There are a few things that could be causing your brakes to lock up. Let’s look at some of them here:
  • Exhausted brake vacuum: Most modern cars have power assist, which relies on a brake vacuum to operate. If you’ve been pushing on the brake pedals without the engine running, it could be exhausting the reserve vacuum present in the car when it’s off. This will cause your brake pedal to go stiff.
To fix: Leave the brakes alone for a few minutes and then start your car. If the brake vacuum was the issue, your brakes should go back to normal once they have power assist.
  • Damaged ignition switch: If you have an older car, it could be that your ignition switch is going bad. Signs of a bad ignition switch include slow cranking in the engine and flickering dashboard lights. To test your ignition switch, press on your brakes and look for brake lights. If you don’t see any brake lights, your ignition switch is probably the issue.
To fix: Ignition switches are a very easy fix and pretty cheap, too. You can replace it yourself or hire a mechanic.
  • Faulty starter cable: Sometimes, your brakes can get stiff if your starter cable somehow gets disconnected from the battery terminal. If you’re hearing loud clicking sounds when you turn the key, this could be because your starter motor is dead or faulty.
To fix: If you’re comfortable working on your car’s battery, you can fix it yourself. Otherwise, hire a mechanic.
If you end up needing to visit a mechanic, you can help offset the costs by using the Jerry app. Once you download Jerry, answer a handful of questions that will take you roughly 45 seconds to complete, and you’ll immediately get car insurance quotes for coverage similar to your current plan. Jerry customers save an average of over $800 a year.

Here to save on car and home insurance? Great, you do that. We’ll do everything else.

Sign up in under a minute.
No need to fill out forms or shop around. Sign up in 45 seconds to start saving. Jerry does the rest.
Jerry collects and analyzes your current coverage.
Say hello to Jerry, your new insurance agent. We’ll contact your insurance company, review your current plan, then find the coverage that fits your needs and saves you money.
Get the best options before your renewal.
Jerry does all the picky, busy work by comparing prices and coverage from more than 50+ insurance companies. We compare what we find to your current policy and offer you the three best options before every renewal.

Easiest way to compare and buy car insurance

No long forms
No spam or unwanted phone calls
Quotes from top insurance companies
Find insurance savings — it's 100% free