Driving Knowledge Useful tips

Do you know how to use overdrive?


A switch with "O/D" written on it on or around the shift lever of an automatic vehicle and its surroundings.
Do you know what it is for and when to use it?

What is overdrive (O/D)?

Cars have a transmission, in order to start from the stopped state and increase the speed.

This is easy to picture if you imagine the gears of a bicycle.

Bicycles with gears can start moving without exerting much force, and can run much faster than bicycles without gears.

Cars also have at least 3 gears. Some even have 8 or 10 speed gears.
Starting from stationary, use the 1st gear until you have gained some speed. From there, change to 2nd gear, then 3rd gear ... and so on as the car accelerates.

Overdrive is similar to a gear used at a higher speed than 4th (top) gear will comfortably allow.
It could be thought of like this. 1st speed (low), 2nd speed (second), 3rd speed (3rd), 4th gear (top), 5th gear (overdrive).

There is an overdrive switch in some automatic cars, so it is possible to purposely turn off overdrive.

How to use overdrive (switch)

How to use the overdrive switch is very easy. The overdrive switch is on by default, until you switch it off.

The reason for always being on is that it delivers a reasonable speed both during high-speed driving and running on a regular road.
At that time, if overdrive was OFF, you would be driving at speed in a low gear. The engine speed would go up, the vehicle would be noisy, and fuel economy would get worse. There are no positives.

Therefore, in normal driving, we actively use overdrive, which is a gear for high speed.

Situations to turn off overdrive

When you want to drive without using high gear

You should turn off overdrive in mountain roads where hills and corners are frequent.

Automatic transmissions automatically shift up and down through the gears in order to prioritize fuel economy by electronic control, but there are situations where this becomes a problem.

When entering corners, when you release your foot from the accelerator to slow down, the transmission will shift up a gear. The car will not decelerate, and you will be forced to brake with the foot brake in a hurry. Or when accelerating on an uphill slope, the transmission will shift down and up repeatedly, making the ride very uncomfortable.

If overdrive is turned off, the transmission can be fixed to a lower gear, the response to the accelerator becomes better, and the engine brake becomes more effective.

When you want to shift to a lower gear

Overdrive is also useful when you want to overtake, when you want to climb uphill, and when you want to make engine braking more effective.

There is a method called "kick down" as a method to shift down from overdrive.
This is shifting down at the same time as you step on the accelerator. However, there is a slight time lag before shifting down with this method, which may make it difficult to use.
Moreover, it can not be used for downshifting in order to make engine braking more effective.
So by switching overdrive from ON to OFF, it instantly shifts down a gear, so you can accelerate more quickly and use engine braking well.

When the O / D OFF indicator flashes

Be careful when the O / D OFF indicator light is blinking.

Illuminated lights indicate that overdrive is OFF, but a blinking light is warning of an abnormality in the transmission.
Immediately go to a mechanic to have the vehicle checked and repaired.

There are several causes of blinking.
Failure of the control solenoid valve, automatic fluid leakage, clogging of the control hydraulic path when the automatic fluid is exchanged, etc.

If you understand the overdrive information explained above, you should be able to drive more enjoyably and safely than before.
Please try it by all means.

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