I've read a little about this, but there does not seem to be a viable solution (that I've found). What happens is, you get in the car, push on the brake (but it won't go down), try to push the start button, and of course it won't start because the brake is not depressed.

This happened to my mom today (and has happened once before). She was at the grocery store and couldn't start the car to come home.

I understand that this is a vacuum "boost" system issue. You press the brake and the boost doesn't kick in, so the brake is difficult/impossible to push.

Typical responses online are that they suspect that the brake was depressed a few times after the car was turned off and it drained the vacuum system. This is not the case however. My mom tried a few times and it wouldn't depress. She got out of the car and called home. She got back in the car again and tried again. This time, the brake depressed as it should and the car started. So the vacuum system was not drained and we don't know what was causing the brake to be stiff the first few times...

Numerous others in forums online describe similar situations. A number have also claimed they took their car to the dealer. The mechanic could not reproduce the issue and send them home without doing anything.

So what I'd like, is to figure out a reliable way to get it to start the first time. Perhaps there's a work-around or a way to get the boost system to engage? Is there anything that can prevent the boost system from engaging? Could a low key battery cause the boost to not engage?

Unfortunately, it seems like a difficult issue to fix since it can't be reproduced on demand.

  • So have you had the dealer check your car or you just relying on stories?
    – Solar Mike
    May 26, 2019 at 19:01
  • Just trying to figure out how to address this issue. It just happened about an hour ago and others who have described the same issue have indicated that the dealer was no help. We of course plan to bring it to the dealer or some other repair place, but we can't bring it in today, so I was hoping someone may be familiar with this issue and have a reliable way to get the car to start when this occurs. I'm not asking for someone to solve the problem without bringing it to a repair place. If the answer is always "take it to the dealer", then I ask, what is the purpose of this site?
    – hepcat72
    May 26, 2019 at 19:07
  • I asked as it is not clear - have those others since found a solution but not posted an update... So many questions on here are asked and never completed by those who want answers - while they may have benefited from some of the answers...
    – Solar Mike
    May 26, 2019 at 19:12
  • 1
    Is it an automatic? Does it have a large brake pedal? Can it jam if pushed off-center?
    – Solar Mike
    May 26, 2019 at 19:16
  • It is an automatic. I will have to check on the size of the brake pedal. We’re on our way to a memorial day party in separate cars.
    – hepcat72
    May 26, 2019 at 19:21

2 Answers 2


Your brake light switch either needs to be replaced or adjusted. Get a new one, they are about $25 and install it. From what you describe that should take care of the issue.

There is a small chance you may still get that warning but I doubt it. If that's the case, this article goes over a few other possibilities: https://www.youcanic.com/wiki/depress-brake-start-engine

  • To what "warning" are you referring? Is there a warning associated with this issue? My mom didn't mention a warning, but she's not the most observant person in the world, and I have not been able to reproduce the issue.
    – hepcat72
    Dec 28, 2021 at 18:15

we own a 2015 CR-V and have experienced the same problem...push button start will not work, and when trying to start the car, the brake pedal cannot be depressed. Our mechanic diagnosed it as a starter problem. We replaced the starter a few weeks ago, and 'so far, so good'...

You must log in to answer this question.

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