What is the difference between CCA and CA?
Cold Cranking Amps (CCA) or Cranking Amps (CA) are ratings used when referring to the current (power) that a car battery can output. The difference between Cold Cranking Amps and Cranking Amps is that CCA is measured at around -18 degrees Celsius while CA is measured at only 0 degrees Celsius. From an inside battery perspective, the more and thinner plates a battery has, the larger the Cold Cranking Amp is due to the greater surface area. The higher the Cold Cranking Amp (CCA) rating, the greater the starting power of your battery. During the design phase of a starting battery, engineers are more interested in the total power that a battery can provide in over 15 seconds than the capacity per amp hour needed in a deep cycle battery. This is why it is not recommended that you use a starting battery for deep discharge applications such as solar energy.
Why Cold Cranking Amps matter ?
When you purchase an automotive battery, you will find that there are two important specifications that are of interest to you. One of them is its storage capacity measured in Amperes hours (Ah) and the other in Cold Cranking Amp (CCA). A typical car battery is 60 Ampere hours. You need to make sure that a battery can store enough juice to suit your needs for a long period of time. However, in cold environments, the storage capacity of a battery has no barring on how well it can actually start your car or truck.
Cold Cranking refers to the current required to start an engine that has been allowed to cool down to the temperature of the environment. Depending on the temperature, a battery will need to offer a high enough current to start your car. Storage capacity has no barring on whether it can start your car in a cold environment situation. Typical Cranking Amp figures can range from 400 – 750 A ( Current) in a typical automotive battery. In a 60 Amp battery, 750 Cranking Amps can deplete your battery quickly and may last only a few good cranks. You may even flood your engine before depleting your battery especially if your battery is in good condition. If your battery is in rough condition and Cranking Amp has dropped to let’s say 200 Cranking Amps, you may not be able to start your vehicle especially if it requires a high Cranking amperage in a very cold temperature. This is why old cold batteries are not such a good thing to have in places like Yellowknife, Northwest Territories. The difference between Cold Cranking Amps and ampere-hours is something like the Maximum speed a sprinter can attain in a 100-yard dash versus the endurance required to run a marathon.
If you live in a cold environment, we want you to be safe, so it is recommended that you replace your battery every 2-3 years depending on the size of your vehicle. If you are visiting a place that you have never been before, make sure to assume the worst in a cold-weather environment and have a brand new battery in your vehicle. When considering replacing your battery, make sure the new battery has a CCA rating equal or greater than the original battery.
Canbat offers a wide range of start-stop batteries with CCA of up to 950. For more information on these batteries, view or catalogue here
If you have any questions or any additional tips or deep cycle battery maintenance, please share them below in the comments!