Everyone knows that the car battery plays a vital role in a vehicle. But not everyone knows a lot about its features. Do you know how many amps a car battery has?
Car batteries have a general capacity of 48 amp-hours. If your car has a fully charged 12-volt battery rated at 48 amp hours, it can deliver 1 amp for 48 hours or two amps for 24 hours. Also, this can mean that for 6 hours, it can provide eight amps under ideal operating conditions.
Read on to learn more about amps in a car battery.
How Many Amps Is a Car Battery?
In general, car batteries have a capacity of 48 amp-hours. A car with a fully charged 12-volt battery rated at 48 amp hours can deliver 1 amp for 48 hours. Under ideal operating conditions, it can provide two amps for 24 hours or eight amps for 6 hours.
What Is a 12-Volt Car Battery?
A 12-volt or 12v car battery is the standard car battery in vehicles. When we say voltage, it refers to the electrical potential of your battery. Each battery consists of 6 cells, wherein each cell consists of 2.1 volts at full charge. If a car battery has 12.6 volts or higher, you have a fully charged battery.
How Many Amps in a 12-volt Car Battery
A standard automotive battery has a rating of 12 volts and has a capacity of 48 Ah. If the car battery is 100% charged, it can produce about an amp for two straight days. It can also make about two amps for a day.
As earlier mentioned, Ah refers to the amp-hour and the battery energy’s capacity. You have to compute the actual continuous amount of battery current. Then, multiply it with the discharging time to get the Ah.
Car Battery Voltage and Amps
To further understand the features of a car battery, it is essential to know what voltage and amps are:
Car Battery Voltage
Again, voltage refers to the electrical potential of a car battery. It plays a big role in the performance of a vehicle. If the voltage of a battery drops, you will notice changes in your vehicle’s performance. Even a tiny voltage drop can make a noticeable difference.
Typically, if a battery has 12.6 volts, you have a fully charged battery. If it drops to 12.4 voltage, it is 75% charged. A drop to 12.2 volts means that it is only 50% charged, while a decline to 12.0 means it is only 25% charged.
Suffice to say that if the battery has 12.39 volts or less, you have a discharged battery. At the same time, a battery with 12.4 volts or higher is considered charged:
Car Battery Amps
The Amp Hour (Ah) rating determines the power and lifespan of a car battery. It signals how long a battery can still last even if it is not recharged.
If a car battery is 100 Ah, it can produce 100 Amps for an hour. Meanwhile, if, for instance, the car battery is 8 Ah, it means that it can make four amps for two hours.
However, a battery at 100 Ah does not necessarily mean it can only last for an hour. It is possible to make it last for 2 hours if it only produces 50 amps. Also, it can last for 4 hours if it only has 25 amps.
Another way to rate batteries is by using the Cold Cranking Amps (CCA). This refers to the capability of the battery to start a car engine during cold weather conditions.
How to Test Car Battery Amps with a Multimeter
To ensure that your car battery is always in good condition, you should regularly check it. One of the best tools to use in testing car batteries is the multimeter.
You can practice doing multimeter readings using different types of cells. So, aside from car batteries, try practicing with batteries from lamps, remote controls, or the like.
Here’s a step-by-step instruction on how to test car battery amps with a multimeter:
- Set Down Functions to Ohms
- Familiarize Yourself with Your Multimeter
- Set the Multimeter
- Turn Off the Ignition
- Locate the Car Battery
- Turn on the Multimeter
1. Set Down Functions to Ohms
The first step is to check your multimeter, which you can do by setting its functions down to ohms. The readings must be zero when you connect the test leads. At the same time, the reading should be 1 if you cut the connection. If the result is different, your car battery may be something wrong.
2. Familiarize Yourself with Your Multimeter
There are two kinds of multimeter:
- Analog type: An analog multimeter displays readings with a micrometer and a moving pointer.
- Digital type: Has a numerical display.
In essence, the digital one is more convenient to use. But using the analog one is fairly easy too.
3. Set the Multimeter
Set your multimeter at 20V. This means that the meter ranges between 0 voltage and 20 voltage.
4. Turn Off the Ignition
The next thing to do is to turn off the ignition. You should also turn off the car radio as it affects battery life too.
5. Locate the Car Battery
The car battery is typically located in the engine room. This means that it is somewhere near the engine of your vehicle.
Once you have located it, connect the multimeter to the car batteries. The red probe of the multimeter and the positive terminal must be connected. At the same time, the black probe and the negative terminal must go together.
6. Turn on the Multimeter
The next step is to turn on the multimeter. Set it to the proper voltage range to successfully measure the battery voltage. Typically, a car battery with 12.6 volts has six cells. Each of these cells can produce 2.1 volts.
As indicated in the table above, if your multimeter reading indicates 12.6 volts, your vehicle’s battery is fully charged. 12.4 volts mean it is 75% charged. A car battery that is 50% charged has 12.2 volts, while a battery that is 25% charged has 12 volts.
If the reading says that the car battery only has 11.9 volts, it is fully discharged.
How to Test Car Battery and Cranking Amps with a Multimeter?
Multimeter delivers accurate results. That’s why it is used worldwide by car technicians and at home. You can conveniently check all your house batteries even without calling a car mechanic if you have a multimeter at home.
The following are the steps on how to check the Cold Cranking Amps (CCA) of an automotive battery:
- Connect the Multimeter
- Check the Readings
- Identify the Condition of Your Battery
1. Connect the Multimeter
The first step is to have the multimeter connected to the battery terminals. Then, kick start the ignition of the car. To do this, you will need to seek assistance from another person. One has to control the ignition while you observe the fluctuations while the engine is running.
2. Check the Readings
Typically, the multimeter reading will go down to 10 volts. Then, it will come up to about 12 volts. Observe if the readings stay the same. In which case, it means that the car battery is in good condition.
3. Identify the Condition of Your Battery
If the initial multimeter reading says 5 volts, the car battery will not last that long anymore. If you notice that the multimeter reading is less than 5 volts, it means that you should replace the cells immediately.
Again, how many amps is a car battery? Usually, a car battery has 48 amp-hours. A 12-volt car battery can provide 1 amp for 48 hours or two amps for 24 hours. Alternatively, it can deliver eight amps for six hours in an ideal situation.
How to Check Battery Amp Hours with a Multimeter?
This time, let’s discuss how to check the amp hours of a car battery using a multimeter. Typically, technicians refer to the operating life span of a car battery as milliamp hours or mAh.
Here are the step by step instructions to check the mAh using a multimeter:
- Set the Control Knob
- Place the Car Battery in a Holder
- Connect the Alligator Clips
- Choose a Resistor for the Battery Voltage
- Reset the Stopwatch
- Connect a Resistor Lead
- Adjust the Control Knob
- Connect the Positive and Negative Probes
- Start the Stopwatch
- Monitor the Current Readings
- Compute the mAh of the Battery
1. Set the Control Knob
The first step is to set the tool’s control knob to the battery check position. If the internal battery of the multimeter is completely depleted, it is best to replace it.
2. Place the Car Battery in a Holder
The next step is to place the car battery in a holder. You need tools for batteries with 9 volts. These include wire leads and a snap-on battery clop.
3. Connect the Alligator Clips
Next is to connect the alligator clips. This is done by placing them on the probe tips of the meter.
4. Choose a Resistor for the Battery Voltage
You have to choose a resistor that is ideal for the battery voltage. At the same time, it should be suitable for a standard drain current too.
To compute the resistance value, divide the battery voltage by the current drain in amperes. Here’s a guide table for your reference:
|D battery||200 ma|
|C battery||100 ma|
|AA battery||50 ma|
|AAA battery||10 ma|
5. Reset the Stopwatch
You have picked a resistor for the battery voltage and drain current. The next thing to do is reset the stopwatch.
6. Connect a Resistor Lead
One of the resistor leads should be connected to the positive terminal of the automotive battery.
7. Adjust the Control Knob
The next step is to adjust the control knob. Its direct current (DC) should be about 2200 milliamps.
8. Connect the Positive and Negative Probes
Connect the positive probe and the resistor lead. Then, connect the battery’s negative terminal to the negative probe. Then, expect to receive a positive current reading on the multimeter.
9. Start the Stopwatch
You have connected the positive and negative probes to the resistor lead and the negative terminal, respectively. The next step is to start the stopwatch.
10. Monitor the Current Readings
It is important to monitor current readings every hour. Once the current has reached roughly 70 percent of the original reading, you can proceed with stopping the stopwatch.
11. Compute the mAh of the Battery
To get the mAh of the car battery, multiply the current reading on the multimeter with the recorded hours on the stopwatch.
Frequently Asked Questions – How Many Amps in a 12-volt Car Battery
Here are several frequently asked questions that can help you understand the important role of amps in a car battery:
How Many Amps Is a 12 Volt Car Battery?
Car batteries typically have 6 or 12 volts, but a 12 voltage car battery can produce 600 amps.
Amp, or amperage, refers to the volume of generated electricity. On the other hand, voltage refers to the electricity’s pressure.
How Many Amps Is a Fully Charged Car Battery?
The capacity of a standard automotive battery is about 48 amp-hours. If the battery is ultimately charged, it can produce an amp for 48 hours. It also means that it can produce two amps for 24 hours or eight amps for 6 hours.
How Many Amps Are Needed to Jump Start a Car?
You need about 400 to 600 amps to jumpstart a standard vehicle. For commercial vehicles, you need about 1500 to 2000 amps. In small or compact cars, 150 amps are enough to jumpstart them.
Can a Battery Be Too Strong for a Car?
Current changes if you install a car battery with a larger capacity. It could result in spikes and surges, damaging the fuse panel or the onboard computer.
The chance of having a damaged computer is low. But since it will affect the alternator, the computer can get involved too. As for the fuse panel, it is expected to get the most damage.
Does a Car Battery Need to Be Fully Charged to Start?
A car battery that is 90% charged is enough to start a vehicle.
Charging a battery before its initial use is not required. But typically, the alternator will not charge it to full capacity.
How Long Should It Take to Charge a 12 Volt Car Battery?
A 12-volt battery will most likely take 12 to 24 hours to charge completely. There are times when recharging can make your car battery too hot. In which case, you have to stop charging for a while.
Typically, slow charging is the best option for car batteries. Also, if it gets hot, it should not be more than 125 Fahrenheit.
How Many Amps Does a Fully Charged 12-volt Battery Have?
The capacity of a standard car battery is 48 amp-hours. A 12-volt battery with a 48 Ah rating can produce an amp for 48 hours. If not, it can make two amps for 24 hours.
Should I Charge My Battery at 2 or 10 Amps?
The ideal way to charge a car battery is by slow charging.
Slow charging rates depend on the type and capacity of the battery. In the case of a car battery, it is considered slow charging if there are 10 amps or less. If there are 20 amps or more, this is already considered fast charging.
How Long Should You Leave a Car Running to Charge the Battery?
A car should be driven for roughly 30 minutes so that its battery can charge continuously. If not, you might have to jumpstart your car once again.
How Long Do You Need to Drive a Car to Recharge a Dead Battery?
To fully recharge a car battery, you have to drive the car for 30 minutes at highway speeds.
However, 30 minutes is only the average duration for recharging a car battery. It is possible that you have to drive your car for more than 30 minutes to recharge its battery fully. This typically happens if the battery of your car is severely discharged.
Conclusion – How Many Amps Is a Car Battery?
To sum it up, car batteries have 48 amp-hours. A car with a fully charged 12-volt battery rated at 48 amp hours can deliver 1 amp for 48 hours. This can also mean delivering two amps for 24 hours or eight amps for 6 hours under ideal operating conditions.