How Many Cold Cranking Amps Do I Need?

Tips & Support
OPTIMA Batteries
Pass Christian, MS

"How many cold cranking amps do I need?" That's a question we hear quite often and the answer is quite simple- as many cold cranking amps as the manufacturer of your vehicle recommends. Does that mean buying a battery with more cold cranking amps than the manufacturer recommends is a good idea? Well, it certainly won't hurt anything, but it may not be necessary.

Cold cranking amps (CCA) are measured in a really cold environment (0°F/-18°C) and determine the discharge load in amperes that a new, fully-charged battery can deliver for 30 seconds, while still maintaining terminal voltage of 7.2 volts. Extremely cold environments tend to be the hardest to start an engine (as opposed to extremely hot environments), so the thought process is if a battery can start an engine when it's that cold, it only gets easier to start an engine as the temperature gets warmer. Engines also come in many different sizes and some engines, like diesels, can be more difficult to start than others, so there's no universal answer to how many cold cranking amps someone might need for their car.

There are days in some parts of Northern Minnesota, where the high temperature won't even reach 15°F and life goes on as normal, but if a cold snap rolls through Atlanta and it might drop below 20°F for a few hours overnight, nearly the whole city will shut down and no one is going anywhere anyway. So if you live in International Falls, it might not be a bad idea to get a battery with more cold cranking amps than your manufacturer requires, but if you live in Buckhead, it's probably not necessary.

If you're not sure which battery is right for your vehicle or how many cold cranking amps it may need, check out our online fitment guide now.