Industry News

What is the difference between a lead-acid car battery and a deep cycle battery?

0 Published by admin Jul 19,2019

People who have recreational vehicles (RVs) and boats are familiar with deep cycle batteries. These batteries are also common in golf carts and large solar power systems (the sun produces power during the day and the batteries store some of the power for use at night). If you have read the article How Emergency Power Systems Work, then you also know that an alternative to gasoline-powered generators is an inverter powered by one or more deep cycle batteries.

Both car batteries and deep cycle batteries are lead-acid batteries that use exactly the same chemistry for their operation (see How Batteries Work for more information). The difference is in the way that the batteries optimize their design:

A car's battery is designed to provide a very large amount of current for a short period of time. This surge of current is needed to turn the engine over during starting. Once the engine starts, the alternator provides all the power that the car needs, so a car battery may go through its entire life without ever being drained more than 20 percent of its total capacity. Used in this way, a car battery can last a number of years. To achieve a large amount of current, a car battery uses thin plates in order to increase its surface area.

● A deep cycle battery is designed to provide a steady amount of current over a long period of time. A deep cycle battery can provide a surge when needed, but nothing like the surge a car battery can. A deep cycle battery is also designed to be deeply discharged over and over again (something that would ruin a car battery very quickly). To accomplish this, a deep cycle battery uses thicker plates.

A car battery typically has two ratings:

CCA (Cold Cranking Amps) - The number of amps that the battery can produce at 32 degrees F (0 degrees C) for 30 seconds
RC (Reserve Capacity) - The number of minutes that the battery can deliver 25 amps while keeping its voltage above 10.5 volts
Typically, a deep cycle battery will have two or three times the RC of a car battery, but will deliver one-half or three-quarters the

CCAs. In addition, a deep cycle battery can withstand several hundred total discharge/recharge cycles, while a car battery is not designed to be totally discharged.

Don’t let a dead battery hold you back from living your best life.

There are a lot of uncontrollable factors that determine how long your battery will last. Things like weather, driving habits and age can impact how long your battery will run, but we’ve got four tips to help you extend the life of your battery so you don’t miss any of life’s important events.

1. Regular Battery Maintenance

Battery maintenance is the key to keeping your battery healthy and strong. During regular maintenance, be sure to check the water levels on your battery. Also make sure that you check the connectors and hold downs for proper tightness. You also may need to disconnect your battery to keep it free of corrosion. Our pro tip is to clean the battery using a mix of baking soda and water. Mix the two ingredients to the same consistency as toothpaste, clean the battery with the mixture, rinse with water after clean and then dry thoroughly.

2. Be Mindful of Car Accessories

We all know that leaving your headlights on when your car is off can drain your battery, but running other accessories can be a drain too. It’s best to make sure your interior lights, radio, and windshield wipers are off when the engine of your car is no longer running. 

3. Regularly Drive Your Car

Lead-acid batteries work best when they are fully charged. Leaving your car in the garage for a couple weeks or months can weaken your battery and put your future plans in jeopardy. If you know your car will be unused for more than a couple of weeks, look into purchasing an automatic battery charger to keep your car’s battery at full strength.

4. Get Your Battery Tested

This one is a no brainer. When you take your car in for regular maintenance, ask your local auto technician if they can also test the battery. This test should be able to tell you the current strength of your battery and also predict what temperature will cause your car battery to fail. Testing your battery during regular maintenance will help keep you from being stranded with a dead battery. Want to find a location near you that will test your battery? Click here to find an Interstate dealer near you!

What tips do you live by to extend your car's battery life? 
Let us know your tips for keeping your battery healthy and strong  by reaching out on on Facebook or Twitter!