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Can You Use Marine Battery in a Car? (Compatibility Check)

Marine and car batteries share many similarities, but does that mean using a marine battery for your car is safe?

Technically, you can use a marine battery to power your car. This is possible because marine batteries are designed to work as both starter and deep-cycle batteries. However, avoiding using a marine battery for extended periods is best since it can negatively affect the car’s electrical systems. 

Using a Marine Battery for Your Car

Technically, marine batteries can power your car, but their effectiveness as a power source depends on certain factors.

Whether a marine battery is a good alternate power source for your car depends on the intended usage. Marine batteries are perfectly capable of kickstarting or cranking up a car engine. However, you’ll need to double-check the battery’s capacity to see if it’s usable as a deep-cycle battery.

Marine batteries must have a minimum of 12 volts to perform deep continuous cycling for a car.

Deep continuous cycling is when a battery constantly discharges power over extended periods. A normal car battery can steadily produce enough electricity to power an engine without using the motor. Boats frequently use this technology, but there’s a significant difference between the power requirements of a boat and a car.

Another thing to consider is the size and design of marine batteries.

Marine batteries may have different terminal orientations and dimensions from car batteries. It may not fit correctly into the battery compartment, and you may need to do some rewiring work if the terminals are incompatible.

Disadvantages of Using a Marine Battery for Your Car

zoom image of a marine battery
Video | Auto Care

A marine battery is well suited to start your car engine in a pinch, but long-term usage isn’t generally recommended.

Cars don’t typically use batteries for deep continuous cycles – they are mostly designed to be used as a starter engine for the motor. While marine batteries are capable of performing both, they’re more suited for deep continuous cycle requirements.

These differences in design may negatively impact your car’s electrical systems. Using a marine battery for extended periods shortens the longevity of your car.

Differences Between Car and Marine Batteries

A car and a marine battery are identical to the untrained eye, but key differences set the two apart.

Car Batteries

Car batteries primarily function as a starter rather than the main power source.

A car battery will go into a recharging state after it starts the engine. In this state, it will be recharged by the alternator. If any of the car’s electrical components (such as brake lights and headlights) are used, the battery will exit the recharging state to supply power to those parts.

Marine Batteries

Marine or boat batteries act as starters, deep cycles, or both.

Most marine batteries are hybrid because they can turn an engine over or provide a steady power supply. Due to this, they often come with larger capacities and components to support different boat accessories.


Deep Cycle Battery, Everything You Need to Know – Power Sonic. https://www.power-sonic.com/blog/deep-cycle-battery-everything-you-need-to-know/

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About Alex Robertson

AvatarCertifications: B.M.E.
Education: University Of Denver - Mechanical Engineering
Lives In: Denver Colorado

Hi, I’m Alex! I’m a co-founder, content strategist, and writer and a close friend of our co-owner, Sam Orlovsky. I received my Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering (B.M.E.) degree from Denver, where we studied together. My passion for technical and creative writing has led me to help Sam with this project.

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