You’ve probably seen a CCA (Cold Cranking Amps) rating on car batteries. What does that mean? And how can you pick out the right CCA rating?
In this article, we will explain what Cold Cranking Amps are, how much CCA is needed to start a car engine, and answer some CCA-related questions.
What Are Cold Cranking Amps?
Battery manufacturers use Cold Cranking Amps (CCA) to measure a battery’s ability to start an engine in cold temperatures.
Because it’s easier to start an engine in a warm environment, it measures how much current (measured in amps) a fully charged 12V battery can deliver for 30 seconds at 0°F (-18°C) while maintaining 7.2V.
Batteries with a higher CCA rating have a greater starting power.
Should I Buy A Battery Based On The CCA Rating?
Specifically, if you live in a cold climate, the CCA rating is a more important consideration than it is if you live in a warm climate. When the CCA of the battery you buy is less than the rated value, it will likely result in poor performance.
A lower CCA battery may not provide enough power for your car. But choosing one with a much higher CCA rating isn’t necessary. An extra 200 CCA isn’t necessary and can increase the cost of your battery.
As a starting point, use the appropriate CCA rating.
Replace your battery with one that has the same or slightly higher CCA rating as the original.
CCA batteries have more power to crank an engine in freezing temperatures, but that doesn’t mean they’re better than ones with lower CCAs.
What Is The Difference Between CCA And MCA?
What does MCA cranking amps mean on batteries?
The MCA stands for Marine Cranking Amps, also known as CA (cranking amps). A fully charged 12V battery could maintain 7.2V at 32°F (0°C) for 30 seconds.
Cold Cranking Amps measures how much current (measured in Amps) a fully charged 12V battery can deliver for 30 seconds while maintaining 7.2V at 0°F (-18°C).
Due to the warmer temperature, the cranking amps number for the same battery will be higher than the CCA number.
How Many CCAs Do I Need In A Jump Starter?
Check your owner’s manual or the manufacturer’s website to find out what the CCA requirements are for each model and engine.
You can also calculate Cold Cranking Amp on your own.
For gas engines, the rule of thumb is 1 CCA per cubic inch of displacement (2 CCA for diesel engines).
Engine displacement is often expressed in liters (L) or cubic centimeters (CC), which represents the engine’s total cylinder volume.
The volume of 1 liter is about 61 cubic inches (CID).
A 3276 CC engine is rounded to 3.3L, which is 201 cubic inches.
What is the relationship between these numbers and the CCA of a car battery?
The rule of thumb we mentioned earlier would mean:
The 280 CCA battery would be more than sufficient for a 201 cubic inch V4 engine, but insufficient for a 400 cubic inch V8 engine.
Is larger CCA Better For Your Cars?
In order for a car battery to work well, it must meet or exceed the minimum CCA requirements.
Battery CCA decreases over time due to charge loss and other factors. If you choose a higher CCA battery, you will need to replace it less often, and your car will start more reliably in colder temperatures. However, a higher CCA also means a higher cost.
Does a Battery’s Cold Cranking Amps Decrease Over Time?
In the course of use, your battery’s lead plates will gradually deteriorate. When this happens, your battery loses some of its overall capacity, resulting in a reduction in cold cranking amps. As a result, older batteries are more likely to die in cold weather as they don’t have the CCAs necessary to counter the effects of low temperatures.
Once your car battery has poor performance all the time, you may need to change it if you’ve had it for three years or longer.