Jeep Cherokee Won’t Start, Brake Pedal Is Hard

As they say, ‘When it rains, it pours,’ and you’re feeling it firsthand with your Jeep Cherokee’s refusal to start paired with a stubbornly hard brake pedal.

You’re likely dealing with a vacuum problem or a failed brake booster, a crucial part that multiplies the force from your foot to the brakes. If the engine isn’t running, the booster can’t do its job, making the pedal feel like a rock.

What’s worse, the safety systems in your Jeep may prevent the engine from starting if it detects an issue with the brakes. You’ll need to check the electrical connections, the battery’s health, and the brake system itself to identify the culprit.

A proper diagnosis can save you time and get you back on the road with both a starting engine and a responsive brake pedal.


  • Causes of a hard brake pedal may include vacuum problems, brake booster failure, and issues with the electrical system.
  • If the engine does not start despite the dash lighting up, there may be problems with the starter or charging system.
  • It is important to check the battery health, electrical connections, and brake system to identify the problem.
  • Seeking assistance from a Jeep Dealership service or a Chrysler Master Tech may be necessary for thorough diagnosis and troubleshooting.

Identifying the Problem

Before you can fix the issue, it’s crucial to pinpoint why your Jeep Cherokee’s brake pedal is hard and the engine won’t start.

A hard stiff brake pedal often indicates a failure in the brake booster, a component essential for power braking. Without adequate assistance from the booster, the pedal becomes unyielding.

Simultaneously, if your Jeep Grand Cherokee doesn’t roar to life when you push the start button, despite the dash lighting up, you’re likely not dealing with bad batteries. Instead, focus on the starter or charging system.

A visit to a Jeep Dealership service may be in order, as they’re equipped to diagnose whether it’s a failed brake booster or an electrical fault.

Electrical System Check

While you’re troubleshooting your Jeep Cherokee’s starting problem, it’s essential to check the electrical system for any anomalies that could be contributing to the hard brake pedal and the no-start condition. Here’s how you can conduct a thorough electrical system check:

  1. Verify Battery Health: Ensure the battery is fully charged and holds power. A weak battery mightn’t turn the starter, even if the lights come on when you try to start.
  2. Inspect Starter Circuit: Check the starter relay and wiring for any signs of damage or corrosion that could prevent the starter from engaging.
  3. Consult Expertise: If you’re not finding faults, it’s wise to seek assistance from a Jeep Dealership service. A Tech Chrysler Dodge Jeep Master will have specialized diagnostic tools to identify less obvious electrical issues.

Brake System Inspection

Upon inspecting your Jeep Cherokee’s brake system, you’ll need to check for any signs of hydraulic pressure issues or mechanical failure that could be causing the stiff pedal and starting problems.

A stiff brake pedal that’s hard to press may indicate that the master cylinder needs to be replaced. Observe the brake light; if it’s illuminated, it suggests a deeper issue within the brake system.

During your inspection, ensure that the pedal mechanism isn’t obstructed and that the master cylinder is functioning correctly.

If you’re not confident in your diagnostic skills, it’s best to seek a Jeep Dealership service for a thorough brake system examination. They have the expertise to identify the root cause and recommend the necessary repairs.

Starting Mechanism Troubleshooting

You’ll need to examine the starting mechanism if your Jeep Cherokee’s engine fails to turn over despite a hard brake pedal and illuminated dashboard. Here’s how to proceed with starting mechanism troubleshooting:

  1. Check the Starter: Ensure the starter motor receives power and that electrical connections are secure. A clicking noise without an engine crank often points to a starter problem.
  2. Inspect the Ignition Switch: If turning the key or pressing the start button doesn’t engage the starter, the ignition switch could be faulty.
  3. Consult a Chrysler Master Tech: For complex issues or if this is your first time addressing such problems, it’s wise to seek Jeep Dealership service.

When the brake pedal is hard to press and you can’t start the car, these steps are critical in diagnosing the underlying issue.

Repair and Maintenance Tips

If your Jeep Cherokee’s brake pedal is hard to press and won’t start, there are several maintenance steps you can take to address the issue.

First, consult your local Jeep Dealership service center, where certified technicians, like a 9-year-old Chrysler Master Tech with years of experience diagnosing such problems, can provide an initial estimate.

If you need answers fast, consider using JustAnswer to connect with verified Experts who answer peoples’ auto concerns daily. An ASE Master Tech can guide you remotely, allowing you to ask additional questions about your vehicle’s condition.

With their expertise, you’ll gain insight into whether the problem lies with a failed brake booster, defective brake light switch, bad battery, or starter issue, ensuring precise and efficient repair solutions.


After meticulously inspecting your Jeep Cherokee’s brake and electrical systems, remember, that a hard brake pedal often indicates a brake booster issue. If you’ve ruled out battery and starter malfunctions, direct your attention to the brake booster.

It’s essential to address this promptly to ensure your safety and vehicle reliability. For a permanent fix, consider replacing the brake booster. Stay vigilant with regular maintenance to avoid similar issues in the future.

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