battery, main relay, or...?

I have a 99 civic and recently it develops a starting problem. Normally the first start of the car is ok. After a trip, it won't start again, so far I can manage to get it started after waiting some time. When
can't get the car started, on turning the key, the dash lights become very dim as if the battery is dead. The cranking is kind of slow. I can hear another kind of clicking noise that comes from somewhere near to glove box (main relay?). I am also having a "check engine" light on problem for a while. Every time when I have a starting problem, the "check engine" light is reset but after I run it one day or two, the "check engine" light comes back again. I thought the car has a main relay problem after reading the group, but since it clicks (it clicks continuously when I keep the key on the ignite position), could it be something else? I also suspect it is a battery problem ( dim light, slow cranking), but how come it can get the car started kind of normally after waiting for some time. So far my car does seem to be easier to get started when it is cold than warm. It is kind of confusing.
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think is going on.
A lot of batteries made since about 1980 (I don't know why) fail because they develop internal intermittents. The symptoms are the same as a dead or nearly dead battery, or bad cable connections, except they spontaneously recover. Sometimes they just need to sit, sometimes cranking causes them to get stronger (spooky!) and sometimes a few judicious whacks on the battery posts with a small hammer brings them back. I had one that stopped misbehaving and gave another year or more of good service, but mostly I figure it isn't worth the hassle to live with that.
If it were mine, I'd start by replacing the battery. It is sometimes hard to get pro-rated credit for the battery if it is fairly new and seems to work okay when tested, but mostly I haven't had trouble. From your description, I think that will fix you up. If not, at least you will face the winter with a new battery.
Mike
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I think you have a bad battery. I recommend you check the voltage at the battery terminals. With the ignition off, a fully charged battery should be 12.7 volts. With the engine running the voltage should be about 14 volts. Voltmeters are very inexpensive. Is there any corrosion at your battery terminals? That could stop a battery from charging and be your problem. Another thing, read your voltages on the battery terminals, not the clamps.
On Mon, 19 Dec 2005 21:11:47 -0700, "Michael Pardee"

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Your battery is six years old, replace it and have the charging system checked while you are at it.

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Is there anyone driving Insights? Any problems?
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