Deciphering the Lingo: Cranking Amps Versus Cold-Cranking Amps

There’s a lot of industry jargon when it comes to car batteries. From post locations to voltage drops, the standard car battery has a lot of specifications. You might be familiar with two terms associated with these power sources: cranking amps and cold-cranking amps. Learn how to decipher between these two terms so that you can pick the right battery for your application.

1. Why Cold Temperatures Matter

You might wonder why the cold is such a concern with starting batteries. The answer lies in the physics surrounding battery basics. Charging and discharging a battery relies on rapid movements of electrons. At room temperature, they jostle around at an agreeable rate, which leads to healthy charging or powering your vehicle.

As temperatures dip down to the freezing point, electrons start to slow down. Charging or powering up the battery becomes more difficult. For this reason, battery manufacturers add cold cranking amps to their advertised specs.

2. Mild Temperatures

If the period of time that a battery remains in operation is always filled with mild to moderate temperatures, the cranking amps or CA would be the only value that you need. This value reflects the current entering each battery cell at 32 degrees Fahrenheit, reports MotorWeek. Their values can be quite impressive too.

In reality, most batteries don’t operate under perfect conditions. It’s either too hot or cold. The CA covers these moderate conditions, but they don’t offer a true picture of the battery’s abilities under true pressure.

3. Downright Cold Conditions

What are cold cranking amps? They’re actually a true account of the current that moves into each battery cell at 0 degrees Fahrenheit. When it gets really cold outside, the battery needs extra power to jolt it back to life, reports NAPA. Without sufficient cold cranking amps, the battery remains inert.

Because many of NEB’s customers deal with cold weather at least part of the year, it makes sense to prioritize this value listed on the battery’s exterior surface. A high value of CCA will turn over almost any engine during the winter.

4. Confusion Revolving Around Reserve-Capacity Values

It’s important to know that CA, CCA and reserve capacity or RC are all separate values. What are cold cranking amps? They’re a measurement of current, whereas RC refers to the period of time that a battery has to power the vehicle’s loads.

These loads are usually varied, such as the radio and internal computers. In fact, the on-board computers tend to draw the most power. Choose a high RC rating if you have many accessories attached to the car’s electrical system.

5. Picking the Right Battery

Whether you’re looking for car or motorcycle batteries, picking the right one is based on the manufacturer’s instructions. Verify with the vehicle’s maker about CCAs and reserve capacity. Ask how many amps is a car battery to see which battery will work for your needs.

At Northeast Battery, we trust in a handful of brands to keep up with those extreme temperatures. From Odyssey to UltraPower batteries, we have the top brands that will adhere to strict parameters. When you need to rely on a battery, our inventory gives you real solutions.

6. What About the Heat?

The concern over CCA quickly diminishes when the warmer seasons arise. Hot conditions affect starting batteries too. In fact, the water found within batteries will evaporate, which leads to power-drain issues.

How many amps is a car battery? Many models come with 48 amp hours when they’re fully charged. If the battery is constantly battling hot conditions, the electrons can move but evaporation makes the current harder to move across the cells. You’re left with a faulty battery at some point.

Our team can cover cold cranking details so that you understand the technology on a deeper level. Keep your vehicle running with a quality battery. Those specifications will tell you exactly how long a battery can last.