Battery CCA Actual at 369: A concern?

When I changed the oil for my Ford Taurus (1999) at the garage, I was told that my battery CCA actual is 369, and the CCA rating for the battery is 700. But I have no difficulty starting the car on a cold morning. Do I need to replace the battery? Thanks.

“Do I need to replace the battery?”

Yes–unless you relish the anticipation of that frigid morning when the engine will suddenly not start-- despite seeming normal the night before.

Unlike batteries of yesteryear, I have found that modern maintenance-free batteries give no warning (slow cranking or dim lights), and can go from “ok” to “dead” very rapidly. In my case, with my '86 Taurus, the time span from “ok” to “dead” was about 2 hours of elapsed time. As a result, I learned to do a “load test” at least annually once the battery is 4 years old.

In case you are not aware of it, you are likely doing damage to your expensive alternator every time that you drive the car, as the alternator is–literally–being worked to death trying to keep that failing battery charged. Ergo–you have nothing to gain by delaying the installation of a new battery, and you have lots to lose by delaying.

VDC way to be, My daughters saturn battery (MIL Gift) was down to 69 CCA last summer, I replaced it knowing it would never make it through the winter. Sure it would barely start, and I saw the writing on the wall. Spend the bucks, and get a new one. Batteries do not self heal and get worse over time. Sure if you can go another 6 months without the battery replacement times 5 years average replacement time (my WAG) in 10 years you will recover the cost of one battery, vs one call to the tow truck that will probably wipe out the savings, unless you have roadside assistance and don’t mind the wait.

Replace the battery.

Not replacing it would be a classic “penny-wise but pound-foolish” decision, as the British say. Most people I know living in cold climates replace the battery before the 4th winter. Saving the alternator, a much more expensive item, is also a strong driver.

If you live in an area with a mild climate, such as Coastal Washington state or Oregon, your battery may last through 7 years.

Before you replace the battery you need to find out why the battery has low CCA. The battery might be OK, just low on charge, the problem might be that the charging system is not functioning properly. A complete battery and charging system check needs to be performed before anything is replaced.

I hate places that do this, someone walks around the shop trying to upsell things without a proper diagnosis.

I would not trust the equipment used by the quick-lube place to “test” batteries…The load tester has probably been adjusted to “sell” batteries, not “test” them…As long as the CCA exceeds the displacement of the engine being cranked, you should have no problem with the battery…A more important number is how old is the battery? Since your battery starts your car just fine, you obviously have enough cold cranking amps…

DIY battery test… At night, park your car aimed at a wall…Turn off the engine, but leave the headlights on. After 30 seconds, crank the engine while watching the intensity of the headlights on the wall…There should be a SLIGHT dimming of the lights as the starter turns over…If the lights dim considerably, by a third, the battery is nearing the end of its useful life…

The CCA test can not be counted on. The accuracy can be way off. Make your best guess without a test.

Hi, Caddyman! I don’t quite understand your note “As long as the CCA exceeds the displacement of the engine being cranked”. Could you clarify a littlte bit? My battery is 4-5 years old. Thanks

Where I live we size our batteries at least TWICE the engine’s cubic inches. My last Chevy V8 had a 1000CCA battery since I had to go North quite often and it had to start at -35 without a block heater. In Texas you could probably get away with such a small battery.

So a 2 liter (122 cu in) 4 banger would need at least 122CCA and a Chevy small block (350 cu in) would need at least 350CCA.
Since the CCA drops as the battery ages it’s good to start with more than this, 2X or more as Docnick suggests.

Correct…A batteries ability to store and provide electrical power starts to fade the day it’s installed. The good ones just slowly fade away…The poor ones suffer an internal mechanical problem and a cell goes dead, ruining the battery…

If you trust the garage, let them replace the battery. Or you might want a second opinion. Many car parts stores have a battery tester and will test your battery for free. Call ahead to see if they have one and if you need to bring the battery into the store, or if they can bring the tester to the curb.