The Overdrive in Automatics and What You Need to Know

In an automatic transmission the overdrive gives a faster output speed than input speed when it is engaged. Cars that have automatic transmissions will have the overdrive already on. In order to turn it off you need to press the Overdrive button that is usually located on the shifter or somewhere on the dashboard.

Do you need to turn off the overdrive? What will your car do if you turn it off? What are the benefits of keeping it on or turning it off?

As a general rule you want to keep the overdrive on all the time. There are a couple of scenarios where turning it off can prove to be beneficial, but keeping it on gives your car the best fuel efficiency.

When people hear the word ‘overdrive’ they often associate it with extra performance or a boost of power. In actuality it lowers the engine’s RPMs while driving at higher speeds to give you more mileage. The only times you should consider turning it off would be when you’re lugging around some heavy weight or are descending a steep grade and need to or to maintain speed through engine braking.

techtipNote: Engine braking is when you downshift the vehicle causing the wheels to rotate faster than the engine’s RPMs are turning as opposed to using the traditional braking system. This is what the ‘No Engine Brake’ signs are referring to.

Rarely will you have to turn off the overdrive in your driving tenure. Outside of heavy towing there really is no reason to turn it off. Most everything else can be accomplished by shifting the gears yourself.

If you have any questions or feel like your overdrive isn’t engaging properly then bring your vehicle into 2J’s Automotive. Our certified mechanics work with both manual and automatic transmissions and will be able to take care of whatever problem you may be experiencing.

At 2J’s Automotive we service all makes and models both foreign and domestic. Come get a FREE diagnostic test so we can determine the nature of your problem.

Call us at 817-232-9866 if you have any questions.

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