Galvin Power is reader-supported. When you buy via our links, we may earn a commission at no cost to you. Learn more

How Many Cold Cranking Amps Do I Need? – Answered

Written by Edwin Jones / Fact checked by Andrew Wright

how many cold cranking amps do i need

Cold cranking amps (CCA) is one of the factors to consider when choosing a battery for a motor. But now you’re wondering “how many cold cranking amps do I need?”

The amount of CCA you require often depends on different factors, including the motor’s power requirements. For example, you might need a higher CCA rating for an industrial vehicle than a standard sedan. But often, the amperage range is 200 to 600.

Continue reading to gain additional insights into this measurement. You’ll also learn the CCA requirements for different motors as you go through this post. 

What Are Cold Cranking Amps?

battery-cold-cranking-amps

Cold cranking amps mean the current required to crank or ignite an engine in a cold environment. Manufacturers generally cool batteries to 0 degrees Fahrenheit (-18 degrees Celsius) for 24 hours before performing tests to acquire the CCA rating.

It’s important to note that batteries need more power than their original CCA as they discharge. Here’s an example of a cold cranking amps chart highlighting the different power requirements among various battery capacities:

  • 100% Capacity: Original power based on labeled CCA rating
  • 65% Capacity: 150% additional power needed
  • 40% Capacity: 210% additional power needed
  • 25% Capacity: 350% additional power needed

Following a CCA temperature chart also helps in determining a battery’s current power requirement. Take note that a battery often needs more amps to start an engine as the temperature drops lower.

Note that there is really no calculator to help determine a battery’s CCA. You’ll need to connect your multimeter leads to the battery terminals, then start the car for 30 seconds to read the CCA rating.

How Many CCA Do I Need to Start a Car?

cold-cranking-amps-chart

A car would typically need a battery with a 600 CCA rating to start in a cold environment effectively. Still, you might not run into significant issues if you’re using a battery with a 500 CCA.

It’s because many car engines will run with a CCA within the 300 to 500 range. One general rule of thumb to follow to find the recommended CCA is that the motor needs 1 CCA per engine displacement in cubic inches. 

For example, you may need a battery with 500 CCA for a V8 engine with 500 cubic inches of displacement.

Meanwhile, a 153 to 476 CCA battery is necessary for a V6 motor with the same range of displacement. Note that you’ll need 2 CCA per cubic inch instead of 1 for diesel motors.

Check your vehicle or machine’s owner’s manual to determine your battery’s power needs.

How Much CCA Do I Need to Start a Truck?

A 700 CCA battery should suffice to supply power to the typical truck. However, you may need just 400 to 500 amps if you use smaller pickups.

How Much CCA for My Boat Battery?

The CCA rating needed to turn on and run a boat’s motor may depend on the accessories pulling power from the battery.

For instance, if your boat has no extra electronics, you may get by with a 500 CCA battery. However, using additional appliances may require you to upgrade to a 1,000 CCA model.

How Much CCA for a 4 Cylinder Engine?

4-cylinder engines typically demand 600 CCA to start and run. Still, you might need more than 600 CCA if your vehicle has additional accessories and aftermarket electronic devices.

What is a Good CCA for a Motorcycle Battery?

It can be ideal to base your battery choice on the size of your motorcycle’s engine. In particular, you might need a 120 CCA battery for a 125cc dirt bike. Generally, the higher the bike CC, the more cranking amps you need.

Does the CCA Matter for a Lawn Tractor?

As with many motors, CCA ratings matter for lawn tractors. Take note that choosing a battery with a low CCA may not provide sufficient power for them to start.

Since lawn tractors are generally larger versions of lawn mowers, these vehicles usually require more CCA and starting power than typical push lawn mowers.

What’s The Highest CCA?

Take note that there’s not a single battery model on the market that possesses the highest cold cranking amp. However, certain batteries can go up to 1,150A of CCA.

With that rating, those units should be able to provide sufficient power regardless of the temperature. It also means that batteries with a CCA rating of 1,150A should be ideal choices for cold weather.

Marine Cranking Amps Vs Cold Cranking Amps: What’s the Difference?

CCA ratings come from tests that put the batteries in 0-degree Fahrenheit environments. On the other hand, MCA ratings generally use 32 degrees Fahrenheit for their tests.

FAQs

Do Battle Born Batteries have cold cranking ratings?

Unlike other batteries on the market, Battle Born Batteries don’t have CCA ratings. It’s because the brand promises its customers that the company’s batteries can provide continuous output current at relatively any temperature.

Will more cold cranking amps hurt an engine?

Generally, a high CCA battery with a rating exceeding the recommended amount shouldn’t hurt an engine.

For example, let’s say you’re using a battery with 1000 cold cranking amps to power an engine that requires only 300 amps. Doing so should allow for a slightly faster start than normal.

Do cold cranking amps really matter?

Measuring and identifying the battery cold cranking amps is important. That way, users can verify the minimum amount of power needed to start certain engines and motors. No one wants to be stranded with their vehicles, after all.

Conclusion

By now, you should be able to answer your initial inquiry, “how many cold cranking amps do I need?”

Remember, understand your engine or motor’s requirements first before you purchase and install the battery. In particular, you generally need a battery with a different CCA rating for a typical car as compared to a commercial vehicle.

If the battery you use lacks the recommended CCA, it might become difficult to start the motor during cold weather.

5/5 - (3 votes)