What are Cold Cranking Amps?

by Phil Borges // in CCA

Power is always a concern when looking for a car battery, and if there's one thing you do not want to skimp on, it's the CCA.

What are cold cranking amps? Cold cranking amps refer to the amount of power available immediately after the vehicle shuts off. This is important because if the battery isn't ready for use when you turn your car on again, it will have a tough time starting up.

If you're weighing your battery options, it's always helpful to know how many cold cranking amps a given model can generate. The Battery Council International has come up with standardized tests that allow all manufacturers to list their specifications for batteries based on the outcome of those standardized tests. One measurement from these standardizes is CCA (cold crank amps), which tells us how many milliamps an automobile starter will draw to start and run.

What is cold cranking amps and what does it do?

CCA measures the ability of a battery to start an engine in cold temperatures. The higher the CCA rating, the greater starting power it has for engines that perform poorly when below freezing. It is measured by how many amps can be delivered at 0°F while maintaining voltage up to 7.2 volts per cell.

Measuring cold-cranking amps gives someone a good idea of what they can expect from their battery in some of the worst conditions possible for starting up one's vehicle. This is because batteries have less power when it’s freezing outside. If you are looking to replace your battery soon, consider checking out CCA measurements before making your purchase decision.

Should you buy a battery based on the CCA rating? The answer is no. While we think it's important to consider CCAs when you're shopping for new batteries, very few people will need to base their decision on this alone. The reason for this is that most vehicles don't see these types of conditions regularly enough to warrant spending your hard-earned money solely based on this measure. But if you do live somewhere where extreme cold weather lasts all winter long, then keep an eye out for higher-rated products as they'll provide more power than standard units would.

You know that old saying, "have a battery bigger than your engine?" That's not true. In most cases, buying a battery with an extra 300 CCAs likely isn't necessary. It would cost more than it would be worth, and you should only buy what your vehicle manufacturer recommends for your specific model. 

We hope this guide has helped answer your questions regarding CCA and that you'll use our information when shopping for new batteries.

About the author, Phil Borges

Phil Borges is a battery aficionado. He's written extensively about batteries, and he loves nothing more than discussing the latest innovations in the industry. He has a deep understanding of how batteries work, and he's always on the lookout for new ways to improve their performance.