Depress Brake Pedal to Start Engine

Depress Brake To Start Engine

Depress Brake To Start Engine means pressing the brake pedal, keeping it pressed, and starting the engine. Keep the brake pedal pressed, then start the engine.


Depress Brake To Start Engine warning comes up often because the driver is not pressing the brake pedal hard enough or the brake light switch is defective.start engine depress brakes

What does Depress Brake To Start Engine Mean?

“Depress Brake To Start Engine” is a safety feature in many modern vehicles that requires the driver to depress the brake pedal before the engine can be started. This feature is designed to ensure that the vehicle remains stationary and under control before the engine starts, reducing the risk of accidents. To start the engine, press the brake pedal, turn the key, or push the start button. The feature is easy to use and provides an extra layer of safety when starting the vehicle.

Depress Brake To Start Engine means to press down on the brake pedal, then start the engine. Vehicles with automatic transmission require you to press the brake pedal before pushing the START/STOP button or starting the engine.


If your vehicle displays Depress Brake To Start Engine, ensure the gear selector is in the Park positionpress the brake pedal down hard, and then push the engine switch to start the engine.


If the vehicle doesn’t start, press the START/STOP button using the key fob. If you have a vehicle with a manual transmission, you may need to press the clutch and brake pedal to start the engine.

If the vehicle won’t start when you turn the ignition or press Start/Stop and your car has a remote start, try starting the vehicle using the key fob remote or app.

Common Problems

Brake Light Switch

Faulty Brake Light Switch

The brake pedal must be depressed to let the Engine Control Unit (ECU) know that you pressed the brakes. Depress Brake To Start Engine often comes up because the driver is not pressing the brake pedal hard enough or the faulty brake light switch.

The brake light switch on a modern vehicle is a complicated device designed to do much more than turn on the brake lights. Learn more about the brake light switch and its many functions.

Gear Selector

Depress brake to start engine shifter not in park

Another common issue is that the gear selector is not in Park but has accidentally been moved to Drive or Reverse. Move the gear selector back to park and start the engine. If that doesn’t work, keep the brakes pressed, move the shifter to Neutral, and then try to start the engine. Place the transmission back in Park before you release the brake pedal.

The gear selector can prevent the vehicle from starting. If the gear selector can not signal the engine control unit (ECU) that the transmission is in Park, the car won’t start.



The defective Ignition or Stop/Start button can cause the warning message of the Depress Brake To Start Engine. Troubleshooting the Stop/Start button requires a professional-level scanner.

Weak battery

Depress Brake To Start Engine  DEAD BATTERY

While a weak battery may have enough power to unlock the doors, it may not allow the Body Control Module (BCM) and Immobilizer to boot up and run properly. If the battery is weak, you may also notice several other warnings, such as ABS, tracking control, and other warning lights.

Most auto parts stores, such as Advance Auto Parts and AutoZone, can test your battery and charging system free of charge. The other option is to get a 12 Volt Car Battery Tester and try the battery and charging system yourself.

Brake booster

Brake Booster Problem

Problems with the brake booster, master cylinder, expansion tank, check valve, and vacuum leaks can prevent the driver from pressing the brake pedal. If the brake pedal is hard when the engine is running is a common symptom indicating that the problem can be due to a bad brake booster.

Starter failure

While not a common problem, we have seen BMWs that won’t start due to a bad starter. The brake pedal can be hard to press, and warning lights such as AWD, ABS, Airbag, and DSC Malfunction come on. Read codes from CAS and DME modules on a BMW before you replace the starter.

Troubleshooting a car that won’t start due to electrical problems can be difficult, even for experienced mechanics.  Check the basics and, if necessary, tow your vehicle to an auto repair shop or mechanic to have it diagnosed by a professional.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do I have to press the brake to start my car?

For safety reasons, most cars are designed not to start unless you press the brake pedal. Avoid accidents if you try to start the engine when the transmission is in Drive or Reverse. Unless you press the brake pedal, the switch in the brake pedal will not close so you won’t start the engine. If you have a manual transmission, there is also a switch on the clutch pedal, which means you need to press the pedal to start the car.

Do you have to push the brake pedal to start the engine?

You must press the brake pedal on most newer cars to start the engine. This is a safety feature, and most manufacturers have integrated this feature in all 2000 and newer vehicles with automatic transmissions.

Why is it important to keep your right foot on the brake while starting the engine?

For two reasons. One is that the engine won’t start unless you press the brake pedal. The second reason is due to safety concerns. If you start the engine without pressing the brakes and gear, the vehicle will move as you crank the engine and cause an accident.

Can you start a car without pressing the brake?

No, unless an automotive technician has bypassed the brake switch.

Which vehicles are affected by this warming? 

Depress Brake To Start Engine may come on in many makes, including Acura, Audi, BMW, Ford, Chevrolet, Dodge, Chrysler, Lexus, Mercedes-Benz, Toyota, Honda, Volkswagen, Volvo, etc.

What does depress brake pedal mean

It means you need to press the brake pedal. You depress the brake pedal every time you bring the vehicle to a stop.

Can’t depress the brake to start the car?

Press the brake pedal hard several times, then keep the brake pedal pressed and try to start the car.

We hope you find the Depress Brake To Start Engine guide helpful. Check these troubleshooting and repair guides for more help on your vehicle.


  • Rushit Hila • ASE Certified

    Rushit Hila, an ASE-certified engineer (G1 Automotive Maintenance and Repair), brings over two decades of hands-on experience in the automotive world to his writing. With a strong educational background, including a Master of Science in Engineering and a Bachelor of Science in Engineering, he has honed his skills and expertise through years of practical work. As a respected authority in the field, Mr. Hila is dedicated to offering insightful and valuable content that resonates with both vehicle owners and mechanics.

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