My 98 Saturn SW2 Starts up just fine. When I press on the brake to move out of park my car dies and while pressing on the brake the dash lights come on.

My fiance and I have replaced;

  • spark plugs
  • spark plug wires
  • valve cover gaskets
  • Idle Air control valve

Still this happens.

When I can get it to actually go into drive from 40 mph to 50-55 mph it jerks a little as I'm driving.

Today my fiance and his friend that has been helping us with the car took out the brake fuse and had me step on the brake while the car was on and the car didn't die but as soon as they put it back in and had me re step on the brake it died again.

What causes my car to die while in park after pressing on the brake?

  • When did the problem start? Has this always done this? Or is it new since you did the maintenance? Does this car have an alarm system or remote start?
    – CharlieRB
    Jan 5, 2017 at 17:27

1 Answer 1


The power brakes on your car are driven by vacuum pressure which comes from the intake manifold. What you are describing sounds like a vacuum leak either in the brake booster or one of the associated vacuum lines. When you step on the brake pedal that allows fresh air to get into the engine while going around the air meter. That throws off the mixture and in the case of an idle kills your car. I bet if you listen when the engine is revving higher you could still hear a difference in speed if you step on the brake.

The fix is patching the vacuum leak, either with a new booster or new hose depending on the source.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .