Frequently Asked Questions about Automotive Batteries
- What is
Cold Cranking Amp (CCA) Rating?
What is Cold Cranking Amp (CCA) Rating?
This industry rating measures the cranking power a battery has available to start a car's engine at 0 degrees F. Battery Council International defines it as the number of amperes a lead acid battery at 0 degrees F can deliver for 30 seconds and maintain at least 1.2 volts per cell. Top of Page
What is Cranking Amp (CA) Rating?
Similar to CCA; Cranking amps is a measure of the number of amperes a lead acid battery at 32 degrees F can deliver for 30 seconds and maintain at least 1.2 volts per cell. (CA ratings are more commonly used in climates where temperatures rarely drop to 0F.) Top of PageWhat is Reserve Capacity (RC)?
A battery's Reserve Capacity represents the length of time the battery can maintain the vehicle's electrical needs in the event the alternator fails. Battery Council International defines Reserve Capacity as a measure of the time (in minutes) a lead-acid battery can deliver 25 amps at 80 degrees F and maintain terminal voltage of at least 1.75 volts/ cell. Top of Page
How can I determine what is the correct battery for my vehicle?
Consult your vehicle's owner's manual. It will provide the vehicle manufacturer's group size and CCA rating requirements for your car. Or, ask your battery retailer to refer to his battery application materials for recommended fitment. Remember: Never use a battery with a CCA lower than the manufacturer's recommendation. Also, whenever available, a battery with a higher CCA is more capable of providing for the electrical needs of older vehicles, and will not adversely affect the vehicle's electrical system. Top of Page
Why is battery power not always proportional to its size?
A battery's group size is simply a measure of the physical dimensions of the battery. This measure has no relation to the battery's electrical capacity. Regardless of group size (physical dimensions), two batteries are equal in power if the RC and CCA ratings are the same. Top of Page
What effect does extreme cold have on my battery?
Cold temperatures dramatically reduce the effectiveness of chemical reactions within the battery, while increasing the battery's internal resistance. Both of these cause a reduction in cranking power as temperatures drop. Batteries left in a discharged state are also susceptible to freezing, which damages internal components and containers. Cars require an increased amount of cranking power in cold weather, due to the fact that motor oil is thicker and makes engines harder to crank. Top of Page
What effect does extreme heat have on my battery?
Heat is the number one cause of battery failure. Extreme heat causes the water in the battery's electrolyte to evaporate. Further, heat causes a battery's positive plate grids to corrode more rapidly. Both of these conditions are detrimental to the long-term life of a battery. Top of Page
How should I maintain my automobile battery?
batteries need little attention. If your battery has removable vents,
check the water level and add good drinking-quality water (distilled
water is preferred) as necessary to maintain the level just below, but
not touching the bottom of the vent wells as shown. This will help
extend the life of the battery. (Be careful never to overfill, as this
will cause acid to be expelled from the vents during normal battery
cycling.) Check both terminals regularly for corrosion and tight
connections. (If necessary, clean with baking soda and water.)
What causes a battery to fail?
Heat, vibration and malfunctioning vehicle electrical systems are the largest contributors to battery failures. Top of Page
How often should I replace my battery?
Battery life will vary from vehicle to vehicle based upon many factors. If you experience unsatisfactory performance from the vehicle's starting system, or an instrument panel indication is that there may be a malfunction, take the vehicle to have the electrical/ starting systems checked. Consider an upgrade to a battery with higher cranking performance if you experience insufficient performance from your vehicle's current battery. Top of Page
How do I charge a battery?
All batteries contain acid and can cause injury if
not regarded as dangerous.
How does a car's charging system work?
A modern automobile's vehicle's charging system
consists of 3 major components:
How do I jump-start a car with a dead battery?
Remember: All batteries contain acid
and can cause injury if not regarded as dangerous.