Electric/ Battery troubleshooting in 1992 Honda Civic

I have a 1992 Honda Civic. The radiator went out and I drove home before it overheated. Today, I changed the radiator and now the car will not start. When I turn the key to first position the dash lights slowly light up. If I try to turn on the radio or wipers the dash lights go out. When I turn the key, nothing happens. Any ideas?

Well, at the least your battery is probably discharged. If it was old, the heat may have killed it. Alternately or additionally, you may have a wiring (this includes possible loose battery clamps) or an alternator problem.

What exactly do you mean by “the radiator went out?” I picture it either bursting or falling out of the car, but with either of those events, you wouldn’t be able to drive more than a few more yards before damaging the engine.

Well, I’m not exactly sure what happened to the radiator but it had a hole in it about the size of a fist so I would say it burst. When I first smelled the coolant I was two blocks from my house and the gauge didn’t creep past the halfway point before I parked it.

The battery could be low liked Tardis stated or there are bad connections somewhere. Clean the battery connections and make sure the gounding from the battery to the chassis is making a good clean connection. Inspect the power wire to the accessories bus looking for signs of trouble. Be sure to bond the radiator to ground if it isn’t already.

Thanks for the info. The battery was bad but problems come in threes, you know. I changed the battery and the car started without a problem. Started it again just to be safe and started without a hitch. Two days later I was going somewhere and the car started and died. Now, it cranks but doesn’t start. I have checked the relay and I can feel it click so I don’t think it’s bad (but it has been abnormally hot here in Ohio). I can almost get the car running by giving it gas but it never quite makes it. I’m avoiding the mechanic so I’m hoping for something easy. Thanks in advance.