Automatic Overdrive: How Do You Use It?

The automatic car's overdrive gear is the highest or top gear of this type of transmission. It allows you to drive at more than 50 miles per hour without damaging your engine by relieving pressure from it. Its equivalent in manual transmission cars is the 5th gear or the gear before the reverse gear.

It brings the engine's RPM or rotations per minute down at a high road speed to allow your car to better facilitate travel at high speeds with improved fuel efficiency. It also assists your vehicle when it comes to high-speed cruising.

The Effective Ways to Use The Overdrive In an Automatic Car

  • The Dedicated Overdrive Button
There are automatic cars that have their own dedicated overdrive button. Pressing it to activate this top gear means locking it out instead of engaging it. When you push this button, the transmission travels through all the gears then limits the function within the rest of the gears.

    This means there will be a downshift from the highest gear when you press the overdrive button when driving at high speeds. The O/D button is switched on for regular driving. Your automatic transmission car will shift to top gear when needed, hence why it's an automatic. However, there are certain times when pressing the overdrive gear can improve your car performance.

    • When You're Speeding Up and So Forth

    Speeding up is the textbook condition for using O/D in an automatic car. This top gear exists to prolong the life of your drivetrain and car engine by pressure relief at high speeds.

    When driving at 50 miles per hour and above in older automatic vehicles and 60 miles per hour and above in more modern computerized automatic vehicles, the RPM increases and the engine begins to get more strained.

      The point of the O/D in automatics is that they take the pressure away from your engine as you go highway speeds. You should also use the O/D in situations like needing to go downshift, driving downhill, or when you're stuck in an extended traffic jam. Use the O/D button in these situations to keep the RPM above idle without straining your engine and brakes.

      • Damages from Using the O/D Gear Incorrectly
      The full range of the transmission is essentially activated when you shift your automatic car to overdrive. It also assists as far as optimizing your transmission life and fuel efficiency is concerned. Nevertheless, don't use it incorrectly. Don't use it to tow a trailer, drive uphill, or speeding up at less than 50 miles per hour.

        Just as driving above 50 miles per hour without it, driving below 50 miles per hour with it can also cause irreparable damage. With the former, it can strain your engine, and in the latter, you can burn out your transmission really fast. This is a costly fix that costs about $1,800 to $3,500.

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