5 Effective Ways to Use the Overdrive in Automatic Car

The engine has been undergoing remarkable improvements since its inception. Every step makes it better and more efficient. When you own a powerful car, then meet a smooth road, you will have guts to speed up.

Fortunately, there is an overdrive in automatic cars. In this post, we will deal with how this new technology works. Plus, we will learn effective ways to use an overdrive automatic car. It is an automatic gear that easily adapts to higher speeds.

Most of the renovations on our cars come to simplify the work of the driver. They break barriers and ensure smoother operations.

What is overdrive on an automatic car?

Man in suit driving a car from vehicle interior

Overdrive helps when you drive at more than 50mph.

Overdrive (OD) proves to be the highest gear during the transmission. All this arrangement happens in an automatic car. Furthermore, it will reduce the engine’s RPM to the required road speed. In the process, it ensures an optimal rate with fuel efficiency.

Do you want your car to experience better performance? If in agreement, then the overdrive has a solution for you. Furthermore, it efficiently works when you cruise at higher speeds effortlessly.

The overdrive will reduce any strain on the engine and balance the equation. Typically, an engine will produce more power while operating on lower gears. Here, the gear ratio is ordinarily above one.

When an engine has a gear ratio of over one, it means higher power production. When operating in overdrive, expect the gear ration to range between 0.6 and 0.8. Consequently, the car will cruise at a higher pace but in low RPM.

The primary role of overdrive is to enable faster wheel rotations within a minute. You can use the overdrive gear in highways than in city roads. Such practice is among the effective ways to use an overdrive automatic car.

When to use it effectively

The Effective Ways to Use the Overdrive in Automatic Car

Every car that has this gear will have a dedicated overdrive button. The nature of overdrive gear makes it suitable for use at high speeds. It would be best if you plan to drive for a long distance. By doing so, you will encounter its effects.

Luckily, some cities have freeways. You can also take advantage of it to test your overdrive. When you enter into overdrive at a low pace, you automatically lose torque. The speed of your car will get limited.

Overdrive has benefits to your car. Firstly, as you use it at high speed, it saves fuel. Besides, it will prolong the life of your engine.

How to Use Overdrive Switch

overdrive switch

The good news is that the switch is ever ON unless you switch it OFF. It should be ON to allow a reasonable speed when you engage in high-speed driving. That can happen effectively while running on a regular road.

Whenever the overdrive is OFF, then maintain low-speed gears. As the engine speed increases, the engine turns noisy. Unfortunately, there will be a high fuel consumption leading to more wastage. It is critical to use overdrive in normal driving actively.

So, when do you turn off our overdrive gear? You can turn it off when you are observing the following actions:

1. Overdrive Indicator Blinking

Any blinking is an indicator of some anomalies in the transmission. Consult the mechanic to check and repair it. Several actions may cause blinking. They are as follows:

  • Automatic fuel leakage
  • The hydraulic control path may get clogged.
  • Control solenoid valve failure

When the mechanic corrects the blinking issue, you may feel free to drive safely.

2. Driving without using high gear

You can turn off the overdrive gear as you approach mountainous and hilly roads. It is also not useful at frequent corners. As you approach intersections, you slow down by releasing your foot from the accelerator.

There will be a deceleration; the transmission will go to lower gears. At this level, the engine will become more effective.

3. Changing to a lower gear

You can effectively use the overdrive gear as you overtake. Furthermore, you can engage it as you climb a hill. For effective engine braking, overdrive is the solution.

It is noteworthy that both manual and automatic cars use overdrive functionality. The primary reason is that overdrive is just a mere gear with a low ratio. But, there is a difference in how it operates in the two systems.

For instance, while using a manual car, the operation is definite. You will have to choose when to use the overdrive gear. In the automatic set up, you activate the automatic gear by the ECU. Some models may feature a separate overdrive button.

However, the ECU is the central controller of the overdrive gear. The ECU option is among the effective ways to use an overdrive automatic car. The highest gear concerning manual cars is usually an overdrive gear.

The standard car will have five gears. Interestingly, some cars have 6 or 7 gears. For example, if your vehicle has six gears, the seventh gear will be the overdrive gear. If you want to save more fuel, your car should have more gears.

The lower gear ratio is a result of many gears in the transmission. Do you know that trucks may have even 14 gears? They will use high gear to save on fuel as they run over long distances.

Advantages and disadvantages of Overdrive

racing car driving on a track

Overdrive is an excellent method that has remarkable benefits to the user. Some of its advantages are:

  • Lower fuel consumption. It is approximately one third less.
  • It increases engine life by using fewer revolutions to do the same assignment.
  • The vehicle will cause less pollution.
  • It produces less cabin noise.
  • It procures accessory life like an alternator and pump.

The disadvantages are as listed below:

  • Overdrive oriented cars are always expensive.
  • In case the vehicle breaks down, it is costly to repair.


The overdrive concept is slowly transforming our driving experience. Firstly, you will enjoy a smooth drive at high speeds. Also, you enjoy low fuel costs as it conserves the fuel. Use it to your benefit.

The above points will enable you to understand your gears in a better way. However, they are also effective ways to use an overdrive automatic car. You will reach your destination faster with fewer costs. It is advantageous to own an updated vehicle with overdrive technology.

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