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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This has now happened 3 times to me and it happened again today. When trying to start the car - the brake is very hard to push down on and when you push the button to start the car, everything turns on except the engine. The key icon flashes. You can do this several times but the brake to hard to push down and won't start. I hold the fob up to the button and it will start and several attempts. This also happens when I try the other fob as well, so it is not the fob. The dealership cannot find anything wrong. The first time this happened, I called roadside assistance, and when they came it worked without holding the fob to the ignition button. The car can either be hot or cold. The first time I had run for an appointment and had started and stopped the car several times that day. Today - it was the first time going out in it.
Does anybody have any suggestions on what to try?
 

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Brake vacuum booster leak making the brake hard to push down?? Is the brake easy to push down after you shut the car off for a minute and try to start it again? If it is that would indicate a brake vacuum booster leak such as a bad check valve.

Frank 2015 Rav4 XLE AWD with 20500 miles
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Brake pedal is hard so car won't start

Thanks for this Francesco but I will have to wait until it happens again. I can't see it being that since everything is working except the car doesn't start. The air comes on, the radio is fine and all the icons show up as if the car is going to start except it doesn't.
 

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Thanks for this Francesco but I will have to wait until it happens again. I can't see it being that since everything is working except the car doesn't start. The air comes on, the radio is fine and all the icons show up as if the car is going to start except it doesn't.
If you press the start button without your foot on the brake, the car will go into accessory mode, which is the mode that you are describing.

The engine will only start if your foot is on the brake pedal when you press the button. So.....it looks like your RAV isn't aware that your foot is on the brake.

The RAV has a switch connected to the bake pedal that tells the computer when your foot is pushing on the pedal. This switch (or sometimes a 2nd switch) is also used to light up the brake lights.

So if you find the pedal is harder than normal to press sometimes, you probably aren't pressing the pedal far enough to operate the switch. The next time your RAV won't start ask someone to watch your brake lights when you step on the pedal ( or look for the light reflecting off the garage wall). If your brake lights aren't coming on. then most likely your engine won't start either.

If your pedal is hard to push sometimes, that means the vacuum has leaked out of the brake booster.

Try this experiment...., after shutting down the engine, press on the brake pedal and note how far down it travels without any effort. Step on and release the brake pedal several times and notice how it gets harder to push the pedal and how the amount of travel decreases. Is this "hardness" what you experience when your engine won't start? Let us know the results of this experiment and we can provide some assistance.

If your brake booster vacuum is leaking out, you should determine the cause because if the booster fails while you are driving, it may increase your stopping distances. It may be something as simple as you have been pushing the pedal with the engine off, for example waiting for someone in a parking lot, at a drive in movie, or while cleaning the interior.

In the meantime, when your engine doesn't start just press the brake pedal with more effort than you normally would.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Hi Rickl - okay I will certainly give that a try next time it happens. Even my husband tried pressing his foot on the brake when it wouldn't start for me, and he said the peddle was hard as rock and wouldn't push down. I only have 36,000 on it and this has happened 4 times now so it is frustrating.
 

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Hi Rickl - okay I will certainly give that a try next time it happens.
I suggest trying the "experiment" before the problem arises. If the experiment reproduces the "hard pedal" then you can learn how to get resolve the starting problem in your own driveway without the risk of getting stranded somewhere. It will only take 30 seconds and cost you nothing to try.

So to repeat the experiment, hopefully described in an easier to understand way.....

-Turn off the engine

-press the brake pedal and notice how it goes down quite far without any effort (i.e. it feels normal)

-release the pedal

-press it again and notice the pedal may take a little effort to push, and won't travel downwards as far.

- repeatedly press and release the pedal at least 8 times

- you should now find the pedal very hard to push and it will not travel very far.

Report back to this forum if that is the same sensation you have in the brake pedal when your RAV won't start.
 

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hello! This is exactly what happens to my car! I have a Lexus IS 250 2007. I have a push/start button and today I came back from the store and it was just hard to push. Someone used jumper cables and it turned on! But I tried it again later tonight and without turning on my car I pressed the brake pedal down and felt it getting hard again and now it won’t turn on only the radio, headlights and dashboard lights. Do I need a new battery or is it a problem with the brakes?
 
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