1997 Honda Accord, very slow start when cold, normal after driving

I’m a bit concerned about my faithful old 1997 Honda Accord DX.

I noticed a particularly slow start a few weeks ago, so I went to Batteries and Bulbs for a quick check. The battery, which was a little over a year old, was already half dead. They swapped it out under partial warranty in case that was the cause.

This morning - same deal. It turned over 4-5 times with a particularly large squeal in the middle of the cranking, but it finally started. I drove it ten minutes and parked it at my normal mechanic (met a friend there to drive her to work, since her Honda has a check engine light on) and it cranked up immediately there. Turned over once, and fired right up.

The last time I thought I heard a funny noise on starting and took it to get checked out (and get an oil change at the same time), my mechanic swore everything was fine. In fact, he said “Your car is perfect.” I’m concerned if I take it in without having some suggestions on what to check this time that I’ll be dismissed as a car hypochondriac.

The car has 222K miles on it. Last tune up was around 200K miles, last timing belt change at 190K miles.

I’d have all the battery cable connections checked, the cables checked, and the alternator checked. Something caused the low battery - did you crank over the engine for quite a while? It might also be the starter, is it original?

I believe the starter is the original. Last time I had it checked, about 3-4 months ago, it’s what prompted the “Your car is perfect” comment from my mechanic. They couldn’t see anything wrong with the starter or alternator at the time.

Battery cables and connections were checked and cleaned when I got the battery replaced (I watched), but not the cable connections at the other end.

A 20 year old starter is suspect, the only way for them to really test it is to leave the car at the shop over night, outside, and have them try to start it in the morning, checking voltages as they go. If the starters seeing full voltage but not working, or working slow, it’s probably the starter.