Mazda MPV Won't start -- pulled key out while in drive

My Mazda MPV (2000) won’t start. The dashboard lights work and the headlights work so the battery is okay, but when I try and start the engine it won’t even crank.

The problem might be that last night I pulled the key out while it was on ‘drive’ but i was able to start it after and put it back into park. This morning though it won’t even start.

Some things i noticed that may or may not be related are that the brakes pedal is very stiff, also when i press on the brakes it makes a clicking noise in the ignition, and the steering wheel is very stiff even when the key is turned to ACC. Is it permanently stuck in anti-theft or something?

I would set the parking brake, turn the key to the run position and shift all the way down then back into park. Try to start it. If that doesn’t work, try to start it in neutral. After that, think about where to tow it.

The brake pedal is stiff because the brakes have used up their stored vacuum for the power assist. Totally normal if you have been pressing on the brake with the engine off. The vacuum supply is only available with the engine running. Once you manage to start it, the brakes will be normal again. The “clicking noise” is likely the safety feature that only lets you put the car in gear if the brakes are depressed. Again, totally normal and not likely related in any way to the no-start condition.

I would do as pleasedodgevan2 suggested: Try to start the car in neutral. There is a “neutral safety switch” that allows a car with an automatic transmission to only be started in Park or Neutral. Sometimes if the switch is worn or out of alignment, you can start in neutral if the park position doesn’t work. Another possibility since you were able to pull the ignition key out while the car was running, is that the ignition switch is worn or has a problem.

Try holding the key in the start position while wiggling the shifter around in Park and neutral. IF that doesn’t work, try wiggling the ignition key around while trying to start it. If none of those work, it sounds like you’ll need to have it towed.