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Acura ILX Won’t Start And Says Check Brake System – Why And What To Do?

Produced by Honda, the Acura ILX is a premium sports compact sedan that delivers an exhilarating driving experience. But, like most cars, it can have a problem with its brakes, so that it won’t start. What could be wrong with the brake system, and how do you solve the problem? To add to your knowledge, we consulted with the experts.

If your car has a push-button start system, it may not start due to a faulty brake light switch. This can cause the ‘Check Brake System’ light on your dashboard to light up. To solve this problem, you need to replace the switch.

Keep reading to learn what to do when your car refuses to start because it has a faulty brake light switch or other issue. Included is how to test if the brake light switch is working and the cost of replacing it.

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 Rear view of used Acura MDX 2008 year black color with red taillamps standing in the light service box of the detailing workshop after polish and washing. - Acura ILX Won't Start And Says Check Brake System - Why And What To Do?

What To Do When Your Acura ILX Doesn't Start And The ‘Check Brake’ Light Comes On

There are several reasons your system may have an issue, including a damaged brake light switch. This switch is part of your car’s braking system. It’s either under your dashboard or beneath the firewall close to the top of the pedal lever. 

Have a look at this brake light switch on Amazon.

When your foot presses the brake pedal, the brake light switch turns on the brake lights through an electrical system. Your car has brake lights on either side of the rear bumper. Your car may also have a light on the back window, or a light at the center of the trunk.

Evening, city traffic jams, street road. Standing in a row cars, rear view, red stop lights. Dividing strip

The brake lights help you stay safe while on the road by alerting other drivers that you are slowing down. 

If a brake light switch stops working, the brake lights will not come on. The transmission shifter will also get stuck in the park position. If your car has a push-button start system, it will not start when the brake light switch is faulty.  

Your brake switch can last the lifetime of your car. However, due to constant pushing, the internal components will wear and tear with time. The solution is to replace it.

But, before you replace it, you need to be sure it's the brake switch light that is causing your brake lights to not light up.

Why Is Your ‘Check Brake System’ Light On?

Hand brake light on car dashboard.

If you step on the brake pedal and the brake lights don’t activate, the ‘Check Brake System’ warning will appear on your dashboard. This indicates there is a problem with the braking system of your car. But what is the exact problem? It could mean one of the following: 

  • The brake lights have burned out
  • The fuse in the brake light has blown
  • The brake light switch is faulty

These are brake light bulbs that you can find on Amazon.

If all your brake lights are not lighting up, it is unlikely that all the bulbs have burned out. But if one of them has, you should replace it.

Next, you will want to check if the brake light fuse has blown. Open the fuse box, which is under the hood, and check if the filament is continuous or not. 

A continuous filament inside the fuse means it is still in good condition. You can use a test light to be sure there is nothing wrong with it. If it lights up, then you don’t need to replace it. 

However, if the filament inside the fuse looks like it has two pointed metal filaments instead of one that is continuous, then it has blown , and you should replace it.

Check out the video below that has a detailed explanation of how to check for a bad brake light and fuse:

After ensuring that the brake light fuse has not burned out and the brake lights are in good working condition, then the brake light switch could be the problem. 

How To Replace A Brake Switch Light

The rear end of a car traveling down a road

You may decide to replace the switch yourself or call a technician. If you do it yourself, the steps to follow are:

Disconnect The Battery

Even though this job is simple, it is good to disconnect the battery to prevent any electrical shock. This will stop the current flowing through your car.

You're better off safe than to risk any potential harm to yourself. Loosen the bolt, and lift off the negative cable from the battery. Place the cable away from the negative terminal to prevent any accidental re-contact. 

Locate And Remove The Switch

As earlier mentioned, your switch is under the firewall near the top of your brake pedal. The switch has the shape of a small plastic box with two wires, sometimes three coming from it.

Check out this brake switch light connector on Amazon.

The switch normally has one or two tabs, which you have to press to remove the connector. But if it is difficult to do so, wobble it gently until it comes off.

Switches are different. If yours is the newer style, rotate it counterclockwise and lift it from the socket. If yours is the older style, you'll need a wrench to remove the nuts. 

Test The Switch

male hand switching on lights in the car

Test your brake light switch to learn if it indeed is faulty. The brake light switch uses a two-wire electrical mechanism. One wire controls the power going out, while the other controls power going in.

Have a look at this digital test light on Amazon.

Get a test light like the one shown above, and place the sensor on one wire as you hold the brake pedal down. Afterwards, test the other wire.

The test bulbs will light up if the switch is working properly. If it doesn’t light up, the brake light switch is damaged and will need replacement.

Check out the video below that gives you an idea of how to test your brake light switch:

Install The New Switch

To install the newer style switch, line up the switch with the socket holes. Insert the switch and rotate it clockwise. You might have to press the brake pedal down to fully insert it in place. 

For an older style switch, use the nuts from the old switch and screw them back. Tighten the nuts, but don’t use a lot of force, or they may strip.

Reconnect The Battery

Battery charging cables transferring

After installing the switch, reconnect the battery. Test if the switch works by pressing down the brake pedal. If it illuminates, you have solved the switch brake problem. If it does not light up, you may need to call a technician to diagnose the problem.  

Cost Of Replacing The Brake Light Switch

The brake switch light is cheap. It costs between $25 and $100 per part. Since it is easy to replace, you can opt to do it yourself. This will also be cheaper.

If you involve a technician, you will pay for labor, which costs between $50 and $250. This price varies between auto shops. 

Despite it being easy to replace the switch, it could be behind other components. Thus you may have to remove these components to access the switch. If the setup in your car looks complicated, it’s better to call a technician before you cause more damage. 

Replacing a brake light bulb is equally cheap. A bulb will cost you between $5 and $10. Labor to install it will cost you between $10 and $20

To repair the brake pads of your car will cost you more. For all your wheels, you will need to pay between $35 and $150. Labor will cost you between $80 and $120 for each axle. Replacing calipers is quite expensive, which costs around $130 per part. 

In a worst-case scenario, if you need to carry out a complete brake repair, which includes calipers, rotors, and pads, the cost ranges from $300 and $800 for each axle. 

In Closing

When the ‘Check The Brake’ light appears on your dashboard of your Acura ILX, check the brake system of your car. It is a signal there’s a problem with your brakes. Some Acura ILX cars that use a push-button to start will not start at all.

Start by troubleshooting to find out the exact cause of the problem with your brake system. Once you rule out a burned fuse or a damaged brake light, you may have a faulty brake switch light. 

If none of the three is the problem, it could be a much bigger issue that requires a technician to diagnose.

Replacing a brake switch light is easy and does not cost much, even when you hire a technician. However, there are other parts in your brake system that are expensive to repair.

To learn more about your car's brake system, check out our previous posts below:

Types Of Vehicle Brakes And Braking Systems

Emergency Parking Brake Stuck What To Do