My Brake Is Locked and Car Won’t Start: 6 Reasons and 4 Solutions

This is a common problem we hear from readers: my brake is locked and car won’t start. In this blog, we look at why this might be happening and how to get out of this situation.

There can be a situation when you are trying to start the car and find out that the brake pedal has also stopped working. When this happens, the brakes are said to be locked, and you will not be able to operate them in any way.

In today’s article, we will discuss the causes and fixes of a locked brake and what you do when you are trying to start up the car. So, let’s dive in!

My Brake Is Locked and Car Wont Start

Reasons For A Locked Brake

There are several problems that can cause a brake to get locked when you are pressing on the pedal. From a damaged battery to problems with the ignition, you have to figure out the basic issue to know what you need to do to repair it.

Here are a few possible reasons that can cause the brake to lock:

#1. Bad starter

If you can hear the clicking sound in the car when you are putting on the ignition, it is a sign that the starter motor is getting damaged. If you are not able to start the car or an ignition problem is existing for a long time, you should get the brakes checked out first.

#2. Bad Battery

When the battery of your car is decreasing or suddenly dies, sometimes you may feel the brake getting stuck. The average battery voltage in a stationery car should be 12.5 volts. When it is lower than that, the dash lights of the car may start going haywire or switch off after a few minutes. In this case, you have to get the dead battery replaced as soon as possible.

#3. Blown fuse

When there is a blown fuse in your car, you will not be able to start your car. The fuse box can be due to a missing fuse or a broken one. When the connection gets broken, it means that the fuse needs to be replaced, which establishes the connection between the two terminals.

#4. Brake vacuum booster

When there is a leak in the vacuum booster of your car, the brakes will be difficult to operate. The stuck breaks are normal when your car is off, but if you cannot operate the brakes when you are trying to start the car, check for a vacuum leak and also test out the brake booster.

#5. Neutral safety switch

This switch tells the car what gear is engaged and if the car is parked on in neutral. When the neutral switch is damaged, you will not be able to start the car. The solution to this problem is to replace the neutral safety switch and get the sensors to start again.

#6. Bad ignition switch

When there is a hard brake pedal in your car, the ignition switch will be the first to stop working. The car stops randomly, and you are unable to start it, realizing that the brake is not moving at all. If you are using a keyless ignition model, this can be ruled out.

What Can Be Done When Your Brake Is Locked And Car Won’t Start?

Since there are a lot of reasons for the brakes in your car to be stuck, you have to figure out what the problem is to get to the solution. This can include minor or major repairs to replacing certain components.

Once you know what is causing the trouble, you can take a few steps on your own to solve the problem of the brakes being stuck. Here are a few things you can do when you are unable to start your car and the brakes are locked in place.

#1. Brake vacuum problem

Modern cars with the power assist setup have a brake vacuum installed as part of the system. When you try to push the brakes, and the engine is not running, the brake vacuum starts getting exhausted. The reserve vacuum can cause result in stiff brakes, and the solution is to leave the brakes untouched. Most times, the brakes will stop being stuck with the help of the power assist if left alone for a few minutes.

#2. Problem with the ignition switch

Ignition switches are one of the most basic problems in your car’s engine that any user can replace. When the ignition switch breaks or wears out over time, it will not let the car start and sometimes results in the brake getting stuck. When you cannot see the break lights, check your engine switch for any damage. It is a fairly simple replacement, and you can do it at home if you know the right steps.

#3. Starter cable issue

When there is a disconnected starter cable, you must look at the battery terminals. The starter cable basically connects the battery to the engine and brakes, which, when displaced, does not let the brake work anymore. Check for the starter motor of the car as well because a broken or faulty motor can cause trouble for the brakes.

#4. Replacing components

When your brakes are causing trouble, and you cannot figure out what is wrong with them on the surface, the issues are definitely internal. This can include issues with the master cylinder, a damaged ignition switch, or a disconnected cable. This can signify that your car requires a few components to be replaced.

It is suggested that when there is a problem with your car’s brake, you should consult a mechanic at the earliest. You may think you can solve the problem since it is a tiny component or a broken switch. However, the car’s brakes are extremely important for the safety of your car and should not be compromised. Make sure that you get a qualified mechanic to take a look at your car brakes to maintain the car’s safety.

Repair Costs

Depending on what kind of issue there is, the repair cost can be estimated. If there is a bad fuse, you will not have to rush your car to the mechanic. Instead, get the replacement done at home. On the other hand, if you have a bad ignition or battery, you have to spend at least $100-200 to get the whole system replaced.

If the problem is with the vacuum or ignition switch, you can expect the cost to be around $75-$100. A neutral safety switch will cost upto $100, which includes the quality of the component that you are purchasing. On top of all the repairs, the labor cost is additional, and it will depend on which mechanic you are consulting.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is my car not starting and the brake locked?

One of the most probable causes for the car not starting and the brake getting locked is a faulty starter cable. If the starter gets disconnected from the battery, the ignition stops working, and you will not be able to start a car.

Why are my brakes locked when I try to start my car?

Your car brakes can be locked for a number of reasons. A damaged or overheated breaking system, broken parts like rotors and pistons, an issue with the parking brake, and so on. Pinpointing the main issue can help to estimate the costs of repair that you will need.

Can brakes cause the car not to start?

The brake and engine of a car are separate from each other. The engine is supposed to start even if the brakes are not in the car. If the brakes are causing the car not to start, there is some related issue that needs to be fixed.

Why won’t my brake push down?

If there is a vacuum pump or hydraulic booster problem, failed electrical pump, low power of the steering fluid, or bad ignition – all of these can cause a brake to get stuck. The brake will be stuck in the middle, and you will not be able to push it down when trying to start the car.


It can be scary when you are trying to start your car and realize that there is something wrong with the brakes. Luckily, this problem is not easy to miss, and you will know in no time that your brake is not working properly and your car needs some attention. Just remember to find out where the problem is so that you can save some trouble and quite some expense.

Thank you for reading!

Photo of author

Sean Mendez

Hi, I am Sean, a self-confessed petrolhead. I live in Boise, Idaho with a busy family of four and our energetic Labrador retriever. Thank you for visiting my website. You can find my email on the contact page.

Leave a Comment