You might be surprised to learn that a farm tractor battery is not just a car battery with a different label slapped on the front. If you think about it, however, it makes sense that two types of vehicles designed to accomplish very different tasks might have a need for batteries intended to complement their specific needs. Not all batteries are created equal, and while tractors and cars do share many similar characteristics in their design, there are enough differences to warrant a review.
It’s About Service & Durability
The fundamental difference between a farm tractor battery and a car battery comes down to the type of battery service and durability level these vehicles require. Car batteries are intended to offer significant cold cranking amps (CCA), which is a rating of how much power the unit can deliver to start a vehicle’s engine. Tractor batteries, on the other hand, not only need cranking power but also need deep-cycle service that delivers more amp-hours (AH), which describes how much power the battery can provide over a given length of time.
Why the Difference?
Traditionally, the alternator on a tractor — that is to say, the component that keeps the battery charged — is not able to recharge the battery enough to keep up with the electrical demands of the vehicle, whether that’s due to aggressive lighting, other electrical accessories, stop-and-start use, and add-ons being used by the vehicle for long periods of idling at low engine speeds. That has made tractor battery designs that can deliver deep cycle service more important for farm equipment, since they are more often drawn down as compared to an automobile’s typical use.
It’s also worth noting that a tractor battery is usually more rugged than a car battery. This makes it better able to deal with the vibration, jolts, and bumps that come with operating farm equipment.
Do You Really Need One, Though?
Yes. The performance, life, and warranty of your battery highly depends on having the right battery for the right application – and that application’s intended use. Make sure to properly match your farm tractor with the battery recommended by the manufacturer or in the NAPA application guide.
Take some time and consider which type of battery is best for all your applications.
Check out all of 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 farm tractor batteries, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.
Photo courtesy of Morguefile.
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.