To help protect the battery from engine heat, many vehicle manufacturers use an insulating cover over or around the battery. Heat is hard on any battery. (James Halderman photo)

Reader asks if large-capacity battery could hurt a small engine

Ricardo from Florida writes by email: “I have a question for you. Would it hurt or be a disadvantage to use a 1,000 CCA-rated battery in a vehicle equipped with a four-cylinder engine? The technician at the shop told me that the standard battery for my 2015 Chevrolet Cruze is 590 CCA. I was told to take the cubic-inch displacement of the engine and double it to arrive at the suggested CCA rating of a battery. However, with just a 2.0-liter (122 cu. in.) engine, this calculation does not seem to apply.

The temperatures here in south Florida are high and I don’t think I need a large battery capacity to start my car even in the winter. The technician also said that the heat causes the battery to lose capacity and installing a high-capacity battery will result in a longer battery life. I don’t want to have a large-capacity battery hurting my car. What is your suggestion?”

If you can afford the larger capacity battery in the size that fits your car, I would recommend that you take the advice of the technician to use a battery that is more than you need. The technician was also correct that heat is harmful to batteries; that is why batteries, when placed under the hood, usually have an insulated pad or cover to help keep engine heat from for the battery. The larger-capacity battery will not harm your car as the starter and all the electrical accessories use just what is needed. It does not result in an increased current flow from the battery. However, the life of the battery may improve and should be serviceable for a longer period of time compared to the same size battery, but with a lower capacity.