Automatic car only starts when I press down the brake. Please help!

I just bought a used 1998 Honda Accord Coupe (6 cylinders) from a Lexus dealership. It has a hand break/gas lever because the previous owner was handicapped. As I was about to leave the dealership, I realized that the car would only start when I pressed down the brake pedal. I’m really worried now, because when I got home and did some research I realized that this model is known for transmission problems. So I’m wondering if this problem could be due to the transmission, or perhaps it’s some problem caused by the hand brake/gas gizmo? I’d appreciate any help, because I’m a poor college student who knows next to nothing about car trouble shooting!

Well, I’m no expert on handicap vehicles, but it just sounds like a safety switch to me. Kinda like on many regular cars, you have to have the clutch pressed in for a manual vehicle to start; and on automatics you have to have the brake pressed to be able to shift out of park.
If that’s the case, it’s nothing to worry about- just get in the habit of having your foot on the brake when you start the car. …that’s actually a good habit to have no matter what vehicle you’re driving anyway.

Why bother? The need to step on the brake to start it is a good idea. I have not driven an automatic in like 25 years so I don’t know if it is normal.

I agree with others that this requirement is intended as a safety precaution. It is not merely a quirk of the car. Probably the brake switch has an extra wire attached.

I also agree that you should simply ignore it. Simply press on the brake pedal each time to start. Enjoy your new car.

Step on the brake. It’s a safety device.

Realize too that in modern cars it is no longer necessary to step on the gas to start the engine. In the days of carburators that action closed the choke, set the high idle, and squirted aome gas into the engine to set the engine up for a cold start, but today everything is computer controlled based on sensor readings and stepping on the gas does nothing to assist the engine in starting.

It is a safty feature and is not a problem with the transmittion. I have a cousin in a wheel chair and this is how her van works (a modified Toyota mini van).

Wifes Lexus has the same feature. Won’t start unless you press on the brake.