Cold Cranking Amps Explained
CCA (cold-cranking amps) is one of those acronyms popular in powersports vehicle battery talk. But what the heck are CCAs, and why are they important?
Is it better to have more CCAs or less? And what difference will they make to your motorcycle, ATV or side-by-side? So many questions! Here are some answers.
Cold Cranking Amps Ratings
A battery’s CCA rating is a measurement of how much power the battery can provide without depleting itself while the battery and the ambient temperature are both cold.
The CCA is the number of amps the battery can deliver continuously for 30 seconds, at a temperature of 0° Fahrenheit (-18° Celsius), while maintaining at least 7.2 volts. If that sounds a bit too scientific, think of cold cranking amps this way: the CCA is the strength of the electrical current (the amps) the battery can provide uninterrupted for 30 seconds, even when the weather is below freezing, and the battery will still keep a healthy charge.
CCAs are measured at freezing point because cold slows the chemical reaction that generates power within the battery. In other words, the battery can’t produce as much power when it’s cold compared to how much it can produce when it’s hot.
Why Cold Cranking Amps Are Important
Your motorcycle or ATV needs the power of batteries most during the starting process. While you’re riding, the battery only has to supply a moderate amount of power to the spark plugs and other electrical components such as lights. However, starting the engine requires a hefty burst of power from the battery that may have to be sustained for several seconds.
If the battery can’t supply enough power for an adequate length of time, it won’t be of any use to your machine. Another important factor is that by measuring cold cranking amps at such a low temperature (0° Fahrenheit or -18° Celsius), the result proves that the battery will still perform well enough to start a motorcycle, ATV or UTV even on the coldest winter morning.
Thanks to the CCA rating, you can tell at a glance how effective a particular battery will be at starting your vehicle. Obviously the higher the CCA rating a battery has, the better its starting power.
Is the CCA All You Should Look For in a Battery?
The CCA is very important, but it’s not the only thing to look for when shopping for new batteries. You’ll also want to know the battery’s AH rating, or amp-hour rating. This is a measurement of how long the battery can supply power or how long the battery will last. A powersports battery with a high cold-cranking amps rating plus a high amp-hour rating will be better at starting your powersports vehicle and will outlast a lower-rated battery.