Stupid Simple Guide to Car Battery CCA Meaning

A closeup of a car battery label

If you’re looking to replace your car, truck or boat battery, it’s important to understand the meaning of CCA- Cold Cranking Amps. Here’s a quick and easy guide to help you understand it all!

What are cold cranking amps? Battery CCA meaning explained in an easy chart

Cold Cranking Amps (CCA) measure a battery’s ability to start an engine in cold climates. 

CCA tells you how many amps a 12-volt battery may support for 30 seconds at -17.8 degrees Celsius before the voltage drops to at least 7.2 volts per cell.

CCA ratings are usually displayed on the battery label and range from 100-850 or higher, depending on your vehicle type.

Don’t Miss This: How to read a car battery label

Cold weather affects battery performance, and knowing what CCA ratings mean can help you choose the correct battery that won’t fail when temperatures dip below freezing.

The higher the rating number, the more power your vehicle has to start in colder temperatures.

This chart helps explain the CCA rating scale:

Power Supplied Temperature Power Required
100% (0% Drop) 27°C Normal Power
65% (35% Drop) 0°C 150% More Power
40% (60% Drop) -18°C 210% More Power
25% (75% Drop) -29°C 350% More Power

How much CCA should a battery have?

It depends on many factors, including,

  • the size
  • age of the engine
  • the type of vehicle

However, a good rule of thumb is to have one amp of current for every cubic inch of your engine’s displacement. This usually amounts to between 250 and 600 CCA for most cars, though bigger vehicles like buses and RVs may need up to 1,000 CCA.

Let’s see how many CCA’s should be in a battery for each vehicle type

1. CCA for Cars

It’s generally recommended to get a battery with 600 Cold Cranking Amps, but you may not have major problems if you go for one with 500 CCA.

2. CCA fro trucks

The average truck requires a 700 CCA battery to run properly, but if you own a smaller truck or ute, you may only need a battery with 400 to 500 amps.

3. CCA for boats

This depends on what accessories draw power from the boat’s motor. For example, if the boat has no extra electronics, you can do it with a 500 CCA battery. However, if your boat has extra appliances, you might need a 1,000 CCA battery.

Do higher CCA batteries last longer?

Generally, the higher the CCA rating, the longer the battery will last. But, for high-heat climates like Australia, you don’t need as much CCA.

What causes a battery to lose CCA?

Over the life of a battery, discharge-recharge reactions happen thousands of times. Each cycle wears out the plates a bit, and over time the lead deteriorates. As your car battery loses capacity, cold cranking amps decrease. Avoid the Confusion: What do a battery’s different specs mean?

Cold Cranking Amps vs Cranking Amps (CA) and Marine Cranking Amps (MCA)

CCA, CA, and MCA are all standards used to measure the current (power) that a battery can output. The differences between these three are explained here,

Cold Cranking Amps (CCA) Cranking Amps (CA) Marine Cranking Amps (MCA)
Measured at -18°C

The number of amps a battery can deliver at -18°C for 30 seconds while maintaining a minimum voltage of 1.2 volts per cell.
Measured at 0°C

The number of amps a battery can deliver at 0°C for 30 seconds while maintaining a minimum voltage of 1.2 volts per cell.
Measured at 0°C

The number of amps a marine battery can deliver at 0°C for 30 seconds while maintaining a minimum voltage of 1.2 volts per cell.

We hope this post helped you understand the battery CCA meaning.

If you’re shopping for a new battery, check out our range of batteries here or visit your local Marshall battery store. Need emergency roadside assistance or battery replacement? Holler for Marshall at 1300 695 717, and we’ll help you in a jiffy.


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