Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Q: replaced the starter. went to connect the negative battery terminal, the starter made a whirring sound and sparked at terminal.

asked by on

After replacing my starter, I went to reconnect my battery. As soon as I put attempted to connect the negative battery cable there was an extreme spark to the point it burnt the battery post and a whirring sound was heard coming from the starter. What could cause the starter to being amping up the battery when the car isn't even "turned on".
My car has an automatic transmission.

Electrically, there a couple scenarios that can account for this, all equally odd, but if you were not having any problems with the car’s starting circuit prior to replacing the starter (i.e., just the starter motor failed) and you have hooked up the starter correctly, the starter motor you installed is probably internally miswired such that you were able to complete the circuit to the motor when you touched the negative terminal of the battery to body ground. That explains the big spark because starter motors of course draw a lot of current. If that is what happened, buy a brand new OEM starter from the dealer or, if the dealer offers this, a rebuilt starter through the dealer’s OEM rebuild program. If you desire that a certified mechanic resolve this, please simply request starter replacement and the responding certified mechanic will get the problem diagnosed and repaired for you. Please let us know if you have further concerns or questions as we are always here to help you.

Was this answer helpful?

Need advice from certified mechanic? Get help now!

Over 1000 mechanics are ready to answer your question.
The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Ask a Mechanic
(100% Free)

Have a car question? Get free advice from our top-rated mechanics.

Ask A Mechanic
Over 10,000 questions answered!
  1. Home
  2. Questions
  3. replaced the starter. went to connect the negative battery terminal, the starter made a whirring sound and sparked at terminal.

Get an instant quote for your car

Our certified mechanics come to you ・Backed by 12-month, 12,000-mile guarantee・Fair and transparent pricing

Get a quote

What others are asking

Q: Serpentine belt tearing apart by pebble & pieces of it getting inside timing belt, motor destroyed

Hi there. I agree with you - this doesn't pass the 'smell test'. The only way for debris to enter the engine is through the throttle body. Since the throttle body inlet is protected and covered by an air intake...

Q: Hi Samuel, my Hyundai Accent 07's clutch slides straight to the floor with no resistance, the gears won't catch and the reverse g

Hi there. Usually when this occurs, the issue is with the clutch master cylinder. A clutch master cylinder contains a reservoir that stores the brake fluid. It is connected to the clutch slave cylinder through hoses. When you push the...

Q: Car won't start

There are many reasons as to why the car may no start, some of which may be related to various sensors. The most efficient way to approach something like this is often times to have the car's computer scanned using...

Related articles

P0240 OBD-II Trouble Code: Turbocharger Boost Sensor B Circuit Range/Performance
P0240 code definition Turbocharger Boost Sensor B Circuit Range/Performance What the P0240 code means P0240 is an OBD-II generic code triggered when the Engine Control Module (ECM) detects the intake boost...
Rules of the Road For Iowa Drivers
Driving on the roads requires knowledge of the rules, many of which are based on common sense and courtesy. However, even though you know the rules in...
How to Avoid Back Pain in a Car
If you have back problems, sitting in a car for an extended period of time can be excruciating. Even without back problems, you could experience discomfort and soreness from...