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Ref. Mazda Tribute, Benzene, V6, 3 litre, Auto-Transmission, 16 Years old approx., 165,000 km approx., 5th Owner

The car has been parked on the street under daily heat from the sun for many months, without being started. I recently tried starting it, however the battery had died, so I replaced it.

The following sequence occurred as I tried reconnecting the new battery:

  1. Connected positive terminal to the positive battery post
  2. Started to connect the negative terminal to the negative battery post
  3. At that moment, arcing occurred between the terminal and the battery post, and some motor (I believe it was in the engine bay) started to turn
  4. Immediately retracted the negative terminal from the battery

Note that there was no contact between the negative and positive terminals, so it was not a short.

I have a few questions:

  • Did any damage occur from this?
  • Perhaps a small animal has shorted the wiring?
  • What is the problem happening here?
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    First guess is that the key is in the ignition or on position. – Solar Mike Mar 21 at 16:32
  • Welcome to Motor Vehicle Maintenance & Repair! When you state "arcing between Return Clamp and Negative Terminal" ... how much did it arc? Was it like a welding arc with a bright flash, or was it just enough arcing for you to see/hear it? – Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 Mar 21 at 17:32
  • This could be normal after battery removal, some devices draw power with the key off for a short period of time. Small amount of arcing is normal. – Moab Mar 21 at 21:23
  • Nothing in the ignition ; But, there may have been some device selected as on ; I confess to not think ahead for that state, & also that I am not an experienced driver, & also to not being very knowledgeable about the use of the controls of this model. – Sean Sean Mar 21 at 22:54
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    I then tried to start the engine by inserting Key in Ignition & turning clock-wise ; Success ! ; Thank u for ur great help, & other educative matter around this topic that u imparted. – Sean Sean Mar 23 at 4:25
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I think the last person who drove the car was using the heater or air conditioner and he left the fan ON when he turned the car off.

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    The fan is off when the key is in the off position. – Solar Mike Mar 24 at 23:03

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