CCA test results on new battery

I bought my 2001 Concorde in September 2014. It got through last winter just fine, and we got down to -10 or -15 up here in Michigan. This winter hasn’t been quite as cold… we had several days last week with single digit temps. Again, no problem.

Then this weekend arrives. Saturday the car works fine. Sunday it wasn’t driven, although it was started and ran for about 2-3 minutes and then shut back off when I decided not to leave. Monday morning, 30 degrees out… car won’t start. Turns over but the engine won’t catch.

Roadside assistance comes. They didn’t even do a real jump… they used a portable jump starting device. Anyhow, it took quite a bit of trying and a few pumps on the gas pedal to get the jump start to work. I immediately took it to a local shop and had them check it out. Needs a battery. They had “Mighty Classic” in stock. (Made my Exide from what I’ve read.) I requested something with more CCA due to our frigid temps and a longer warranty. They provided a Duralast 34-DLG from AutoZone for an additional $25.

When I picked up the car, they provided print outs of the charging test results with my receipt. This is where my concern lies (besides the negative reviews for the battery). The battery is advertised as 800 CCA. The print out of the test shows a result of 718 CCA. That immediately causes me concern… but right underneath it says that it’s rated for 650 CCA. Is it possible it’s showing less than 800 CCA because the rating of the battery was set incorrectly? Really, I do I have anything to be concerned about here?

Your input is greatly appreciated! Thank you!

I don’t think that the equipment at most shops could accurately measure a battery’s cca capacity. Most digital testers apply a fixed amp load and interpolate the cca from the voltage drop over a period of seconds. The print out is impressive and the test is very useful if properly done but it’s results are jusr relative comparisons.

And fwiw the red top Auto Zone battery has proven to be a quality product with me and I would feel certain that the gold top model is also worth the price.

No, you don’t need to worry. They can’t do a real CCA test because they didn’t put the battery in a freezer. It was estimated at 718 CCA by the reader they are using. Also, what do you mean by;

“right underneath it says that it’s rated for 650 CCA”

Underneath what? The 718 on the printout? Or on the battery itself? If 650 is the rating of the battery, good! If the 650 is the rating required by the car, also good! If the battery is rated 800 and measured 718, that is a bit low but I still wouldn’t be too concerned.

Overall, I think you are good.

My battery tester can measure CCA’s accurately as with most shops testers.

What has to be looked at is when was the battery manufactured. Depending on the date of manufacture and how long the battery sat on the shelf before the battery was sold can effect the CCA’s.

As batteries sit on a shelf they begin to sulfate as they slowly discharge. Sulfation is where sulfur crystals form on the battery plates as the battery sits. These crystals then isolate the plates from the electrolyte reducing the cold cranking amps of the battery.

Look on the battery case for the manufacturers date code. This is a letter followed by a number. For example a date code of C14 indicates the battery was manufactured in March of 2014.

The rule of thumb is never purchase a battery that is more than six months old. When I purchase a battery I always look at the date code.

So if the battery is more than six months old, I’d take it back and ask for a newer battery.


My main area of concern is that the printout says the battery is rated at 650cca. I would double check the battery in your car and be sure they didn’t accidentally give you the wrong one. Assuming you have the right battery, 700+ is a very good rating. You shouldn’t have any battery related problems starting with a battery like that.

If it turns out they sold you the wrong battery, then with a test result like that, I’d just get the refund for the difference in price and keep that one. You don’t need anything better.

I would guess it is in the fine print somewhere, x cca at x temperature.


That’s why today’s battery testers require that the ambient temperature be entered before testing the battery.


I have gotten better battery life out of Duralast batteries than any other brand so far. I would not worry about it.

The fact that it “turned over but didn’t catch” seems to indicate that while you may still have needed a battery, that the battery probably wasn’t the cause of the no-start. Did you crank the engine trying to start it for some time, running the battery low enough to need a jump? Was it cranking slower than normal when it “didn’t catch”? How long has it been since the car has had a basic tune up, with spark plugs and wires if needed?

Thanks for all the responses guys. I did check and make sure that they gave me the right battery. I can’t see it well, as it’s buried underneath a lot of other things next to my radiator. However, I could make out the UPC. I compared that against the one on the Auto Zone shelf and it matches.

When I mentioned it saying the capacity is 650, I meant on the print out. It says:
Measured 718CCA
Rating 650CCA

I’m wondering if there is a way to input the rating for the battery into the testing device. I’m theorizing that if the testing device thinks the battery is 650 instead of 800, if that would skew the result for the “measured” result it shows. Otherwise, I’m testing 718 for a battery that should be 800.

As far as the date code, I’ll have to double check another day when it’s light out. Not sure if I’ll be able to see it. I can only see the right side of the top of the battery, which is the reserve capacity and the UPC. I don’t think the date code is visible.

Not sure about the service history of the vehicle. I took a gamble and purchased it without any records available. I haven’t had it done, and considering I bought it with 94k, I doubt the previous owner had a tune up done.

Sooooo…you’re gonna get a tune up then?

A piece of equipment that can draw an 800 amp load would be considerably larger than anything I have seen used at any parts house @Tester. It would require 00 ga cables and a large cart. The Sun VAT 40 and similar devices could dump 500+/- amps but I have never seen one that was digital(other than the meters) or had a greater amp capacity carbon pile. The hand held digitals have all appeared to be this basically

but made" high tech."

It’s hard to beat the VAT 40’s performance.

You can put those antiques into the moth-balls.

This is how batteries are tested today.


@retrokick: The CCA value is a measured attribute and there is nothing to input on the tester as far as I know, other than possibly the battery voltage (12) and the battery type (lead-acid). I believe the CCA is the rating at 0 degrees F, so if the battery was tested after just being installed from inventory kept in a warm showroom, it’s likely going to be much better than the 0-degree rating. Heat speeds up all chemical reactions whether it’s a battery producing power or your car rusting out.

I had my OEM battery in my 2006 vehicle load tested last summer due to its age, and it tested over its rated capacity, but this was obviously not with an ice-cold battery.

I still think you should at least get your spark plugs looked at–if the car is cranking briskly but not starting, there’s nothing wrong with the battery–it’s doing its job. If you don’t have the maintenance records, it’s entirely possible the plugs have never been changed, or maybe only changed once. They are very easy to change on your engine as well if it’s a 3.5L.

This is how batteries are tested today.

Shunt style ammeters have been around for a while. I believe their accuracy today is in the +/- 3% range (before trying to account for 0 degree CCA). I don’t know how far that accuracy rating widens when trying to project what the battery’s CCA will be at 0 degrees.

But whatever their accuracy is, they are definitely “good enough”.

That looks quite high tech @Tester. But the link doesn’t explain how the device measures CCA. With the 10ga leads the amp capacity of the device is minimal. And there is no shunting circuit indicated.

I have one of those Schumacher testers and they are easy to use.

And no doubt, Snap-On is getting into thr high tech battery testing business

And at 3:50 a very significant benefit of such testers is mentioned.

I don’t see what the disagreement is @retokick ? @insightful was just trying to clarify what your intent was from your observation. Regardless of the CCA of a battery, you can in the future have trouble starting your car with your new battery and quickly run it down in very cold conditions. Running down a battery is very hard on any non deep cycle battery, even a new one, and you are rightfully concerned that the car was not tuned. Insightful was “insightful” about asking. He didn’t come accross that name by accident. :wink:

And at 3:50 a very significant benefit of such testers is mentioned.

Wow! That’s definitely true.