Like cars, boat batteries grow weaker over time. A common question that lingers in most boat owners is, can a weak battery affect a boat’s performance?
Well, boat batteries have two major functions: crank up and start the engine and power the electronic components. At a glance, there is no direct link between a weak battery and engine performance. However, a weak battery can affect other parts of the engine which in turn affects its performance. And here’s how.
Shortens the alternator’s lifespan
In most boats, once the engine runs, the alternator takes over. It supplies power to most electronic components and charges the battery. So if you’re using a weak boat battery, the alternator must work harder to keep up with the power demands. In the long run, it shortens its lifespan and consequently derails engine performance.
Increases gas consumption
Since the alternator of a weak boat battery gets overworked, it forces the engine to guzzle more gas. Increased consumption is needed to drive the accessory belts that propel the boat. So you will notice your gas consumption going up and engine efficiency decreasing.
Weakens the boat’s computer systems
Although a boat’s computer may seem to work adequately, a weak battery may hinder some of its functions. For instance, it’s not uncommon for gas or oxygen sensors to malfunction when the battery voltage falls below the recommended levels. As a result, the computer may not correctly measure fuel consumption or close cylinders when cruising at a low speed.
Now that you know how a weak boat battery can affect its performance, it’s important to take preventative measures. The good news is that before your battery stops functioning, it gives out signals. If you can read these warning signs, you can act before it’s too late.
The most common signals include:
• Slow or weak cranking and starting
• Low power for the electrical components
• Swollen battery
• Low electrolyte level
Although there’s no direct link between battery and engine performance, the effects of running with a weak battery can result in costly damages in repairs or replacements. Rather than waiting until it is too late, take action now. Check your battery regularly.
At LifeLine, we’re happy to help. Contact us immediately to speak with one of our boat battery specialists if you notice any of these warning signs.