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What’s the Best Battery for Diesel Trucks? 3 Tips for Choosing the Right One

Diesel truck engine with battery

The best battery for diesel trucks isn’t necessarily the same one you would choose for a gas-powered pickup. Although trucks in general make use of higher capacity batteries due to their task-focused design and frequent commercial application, there are still differences to consider when comparing diesel battery options to those of a standard pickup.

What should you look for in a diesel battery? Here’s what you need to know to make the right choice.

All About Amps

The most significant factor to consider when evaluating the best battery for diesel trucks is the amount of cold cranking amps (CCA) it has to offer. A battery’s CCA rating refers to the amount of power on hand for cranking over an engine even at low temperatures.

Given that diesel motors often require more power to crank than a gas unit — and that colder weather isn’t kind to high-compression diesels trying to find the warmth required to ignite their fuel — they need more CCA in a battery, so it can crank longer and stronger on a cold day.

Of course, this isn’t true for all diesel engines. Smaller designs, such as a four-cylinder or small six-cylinder, won’t require the same level of cold cranking capacity as a larger V-8. Still, err on the side of caution when evaluating a battery‘s CCA for your diesel truck. The recommended CCA varies depending on how harsh your winters are, but you’re looking for at least 800 CCA for most climates in the continental U.S.

Consider Vibration

Cummins Diesel Power LogoSome diesel engines are known to vibrate significantly more than a gas motor, particularly on heavy-duty trucks. This might not seem like a concern when shopping for the best battery for diesel trucks, but vibration can cause internal damage to a battery that’s difficult to see.

For example, cracks in the connectors between a battery’s cells can occur if they’re constantly exposed to vibration, which is why some diesel batteries provide additional insulation against this type of shaking. When looking at batteries, check to see if it’s intended specifically to operate in the rough-and-tumble diesel world.

Are You Accessorized?

If you use your diesel truck for work, you might have accessories that place a higher demand on your vehicle’s electrical system. Don’t focus exclusively on CCA when evaluating a battery if you know you’ll need it to power lights, winches and other gear on the job site. Instead, look for a diesel truck battery that provides better-than-average reserve capacity and withstands deep cycling that a standard truck battery doesn’t.

Don’t leave it up to chance. Take the time to choose the right battery and you’ll enjoy thousands of miles of trouble-free driving in your diesel truck.

Check out all the batteries available on NAPA Online or trust one of our 17,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on the best battery for diesel trucks, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Benjamin Hunting View All

Having been bitten by the car bug at a young age, I spent my formative years surrounded by Studebakers at car shows across Quebec and the northeastern United States. Over ten years of racing, restoring, and obsessing over automobiles lead me to balance science writing and automotive journalism full time.  I currently contribute as an editor to several online and print automotive publications, and I also write and consult for the pharmaceutical and medical device industry.

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