Unlikely, were a short circuit present, you'd be blowing fuses. My guess is either one of two things or both. One, some one "may" have wired a stereo in the car incorrectly causing the problem. Two, the car was "possibly" in a collision and rewired incorrectly. The only way to know for sure is to trace the malfunction from the source backwards.
Thanks, that's my next step.
Search Toyota Tercel Questions
Are you a UK consumer? CarGurus now has a discussion forum in the UK.
Toyota Tercel Experts