What Do Numbers On A Car Battery Mean?

Understaning the specifications of battery's numbers.

You might be wondering what do numbers on a car battery mean. Why are they needed? Is this an indication if it’s good for your vehicle or not? I have been pondering about this for a while because someone has been asking us about it and I believe this is about time that the car battery numbers explained.

What is the real meaning of car battery numbers and how do you know it is the best fit for your car? These numbers meant a lot and if you’re not that too verse in car engine parts and car batteries, you will get lost.

The following are the meaning of each number indicated on your car batteries:

1. Marine Cranking Amps
2. Cold Cranking Amps
3. Reserve Capacity
4. Amp Hours
5. Month & Year codes

Marine Cranking (MCA)

MCA indicates the number of amperes a cell can hold for a matter of 30 secs at a leveled temperature of 32 degrees Fahrenheit up until the battery charge falls to 1.2 V per battery cell.

CCA (Cold Cranking Amps)

A CCA tests the starting act of a car battery. In layman terms, the higher the Cold Cranking Amps value, the smoother it will be to ignite the vehicle, especially in colder seasons. The degree relates to the number of amps a single 12-V battery can produce at 0°F for 30 sec while keeping a charge of at least 7.2 V.

If your climate is usually cold throughout the whole year, the CCA rating is essential. Say for example you are living in Canada; you have to pay greater attention to this than you are living in Arizona.

The cell’s starting power declines the longer you are using the battery. A battery with a higher starting power is better to start with if there comes a time that you need to replace a cell with a lower CCA than the primary defective one, it may result in weak performance.

Click here to learn more about CCA.

Reserve Capacity

Batteries with higher reserve capacity are more expensive than the standard ones. If you love to use the stereo of your car while just sitting inside and not driving around the city, you should check a car battery that has a higher reserve capacity and invests in it.

Amp Hours

Amp Hours is the range of possible electrical current for a certain period. A good example is, if a car battery is rated at 40-amp-hours, it only means that the cell can produce 40 amps continuously for an hour, an amp for 40 hours.

Amp is a unit of frequency of the speed of electrical flow or the flow in an electrical transmitter.

Month & Year Codes

You can see a couple of back-to-back figures at the top of each battery. The first row of numbers meant that the last number of the year when the battery has been bought (8 for 2008, or 2 for 2002). The other row, however, indicated the month it has been purchased.

It is important to pay attention to the details for the months and years on the car batteries as it will reflect the warranty period that will be given to you by the manufacturer. Most of the time, there is an 84 month warranty period.

During this period, if the battery fails or suddenly went dead without you doing anything extraordinary, the manufacturer can replace or check it for free. Isn’t it better? So keep your warranty cards because you need them anytime.

These numbers have undergone in a manner of tests conducted by their respective manufacturers. There are different tests to identify the car batteries qualification before selling them in the market and before they can pass quality specifications. The following are the most common tests that are being conducted.

1. SAE
2. IEC
3. EN
4. JIS

Aside from CCA, there is reserve capacity that we need to consider while buying a car battery for our vehicles. But what is the difference between the two?

Reserve Capacity Vs. CCA

Manufacturers increase the reserve capacity in each battery that they produce. It is to ensure that it will double the life span of a cell. They did the same with the cold cranking amps. They added thicker and denser lead oxide plates plus packed suspension grids. Also, durable separator plates are also attached to prevent oxide dropping which occurs during intense discharge.

Too much lead oxide can cause short circuits once it settles on the bottom of the battery case. And short circuit means dead battery. Who wants a dead battery? Of course, no one. That is why this sort of battery system is essential as it increases the number of time the cell can fully recharge and advances the life of the cell.

According to some car owners, it takes 400 amps (probably enough) to start most small to midsize cars and the most minor of SUVs and trucks. To excite “bigger” wheels you will presumably need the 1000 amp unit. That is why it is crucial to check batteries that have a higher reserve capacity.

What Are Deep Cycle Batteries And Can You Use Them?

Nothing in this world can be treated as equal or the same without even stressing that there are actually different things. All batteries are not the same. Each battery has been made according to different needs and according to their own capacity to handle energy and provide them to car owners.

You can actually use a deep cycle battery as one of the starting battery however, it has a lower CCA compared to other types of batteries. The good thing here though is, if you choose to have a deep cycle battery first, you can upsize it about 20% later on. A deep cycle battery composed of a whole lot more thicker and solid plates.

Can You Put A Higher Amp Battery On Your Car?

If you are living in the city and driving your kids to school or driving to your work, it is a good investment to have a bigger capacity battery since you will be using it often. The extra amp/hr will act as reserve capacity. If you are going to buy newer batteries, most of them are a dry charge which is 100 % fully charged and once installed; you can use them right away.

You can go to the nearest mechanic or automotive shop to check which is the best car battery for your car as always. Car batteries range from deep cycle batteries, lead-acid batteries, wet-cell batteries, and hey, even hybrid batteries.

Importance Of Car Battery Numbers

Why is it important for every car owners to know more about the meaning behind the digits on a car battery? When it is really overwhelming to be bombarded with information about the car engine parts and how to simply start your car, it is also important for you to know more about the car battery numbers.

Each car battery has a corresponding meaning depending on the brand, the CCA, the RC, the MCA, and even the month and date you have bought it (all batteries will not last a lifetime and you need to accept that). Whether it is a lead-acid battery or a hybrid one, it is important for us to be familiarized with it.

It is not all the time that we can find someone who knows better than us about our car. We can be driving on a long road going to Montana or driving using an SUV we just borrowed from our relative and accidentally the vehicle’s engine stop in a place where we are not too familiar (no gas station, no house nearby), and we couldn’t be clueless of what to do.

We need to know. We need to be equipped. We can’t be going around circles and always try to guess what is happening to our car batteries. The more knowledgeable we are about a car and their parts, the more we can say that we can go alone and drive a car in the middle of the night. Because hey, not all mechanics can be on call for 24/7. Unless you are the mechanic yourself.


Car battery numbers explained as different in every section, and we realized that each number correspond to something more profound that usually gone into tests before making it to the market.

Each manufacturer has a different standard on tests and each battery differs. Some batteries can provide high CCA which you will usually need in colder seasons, and there are also more durable and denser batteries that share a different specification depending on the vehicle’s needs.

Thus, it is best to consult your local mechanic to help you pick the best battery for your car if you are hesitant – or better, let them know that you want to study about it so you will eventually not bother them again.