Cold Cranking Amperage vs. Cranking Amperage: What’s the Difference?

January 15, 2019 12:25 am Published by Leave your thoughts

At Texford Battery Co., we occasionally have customers ask us what the difference is between the ratings of cold cranking amperage (CCA) and standard cranking amperage (CA) for starting automatic vehicles. Here’s an overview from the experts at our battery store in Houston, TX.

How do you know which of these amperages to look at when selecting a battery for your vehicle? Basically, what you need to know is that batteries are chemically based. Because liquids move slower when they are cold, the temperature makes a big difference when you’re evaluating a battery for potential use in your vehicles or equipment.

The two types of ratings we mentioned above have different temperature requirements. Let’s take a closer look.

Determining the temperature

For about 45 years or so, CCA based on zero degrees was used exclusively in batteries, which meant that manufacturers of vehicles and other equipment have primarily used CCA to certify exactly how much energy you have in your battery to start up a new engine.

Using the cold cranking rating, a manufacturer must freeze the battery to zero degrees.

However, the cranking amperage (CA) rating is based on 32 degrees. Because the rating is based on warmer temperatures, the number for CA on a battery will be higher than the number for CCA on a battery. Most of the time, people who use CA-rated batteries do so if they’re operating in warmer climates and don’t need to worry as much about colder temperature ratings.

It’s also important to know that the zero degree rating offers much greater insight into the types of strenuous conditions in which a battery can operate. But whichever rating you choose, it’s important to continue with the same rating throughout the comparison. Because the manufacturers of equipment and vehicles use the CCA at zero, you’ll need to convert the CCA ratings from the manufacturers to CA when looking at batteries.

The formula for this is simple—all you need to do is divide the CCA by 0.8 to arrive at the equivalent CA rating.

Ultimately, the type of rating system you look at for your batteries will depend on the climate in which you live, the type of equipment you’re looking at and the conditions in which you believe the battery will be most frequently used. If you’re looking for advice, you are more than welcome to give us a call or pay us a visit at our battery store in Houston, TX. While you likely won’t have to worry about operating the battery in colder temperatures if the equipment is going to remain here in the hot and humid Houston climate, you may want to look at CCA options if you’re going to be taking that equipment elsewhere in the United States and using it in colder, more strenuous environments. At the very least, you should have an idea of the equivalent CCA and CA ratings for batteries you’ll be using elsewhere.

Contact Texford Battery Co. today with any questions you have for our team!

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