Even though the process of driving a car is fairly simple to learn, knowing everything about your vehicle is quite a bit more complicated. Fortunately, this is totally normal. But if you’d like to learn more about what your car can do, you must start somewhere. This is why we’re here to talk about your vehicle’s overdrive.
Not all cars have this option, but you can have it installed later if you want it. If you’re going to get a cheaper one, make sure you read up on what you should know before purchasing a used transmission overdrive so that you don’t end up with something that ruins your vehicle. However, if you do already have one, you’ll want to know when it’s best to put your car into overdrive.
What Is Overdrive?
Before you cover when to use overdrive, let’s go over what it is first. When your car is in gear, it typically has a 1:1 ratio where the engine is turning at the same speed as the transmission output shaft. When you shift into overdrive, the engine moves slower than the output shaft, which allows you to get better fuel economy.
When To Use It
Even though this sounds like a feature you should have on constantly to save some money at the pump, there will be times in which you shouldn’t use it. So when is it best to put your car into overdrive? You should do so on long stretches of flat, open roads. That means overdrive is ideal for highway driving. Plus, newer cars have designs that utilize overdrive as much as possible, so you’ll rarely ever need to turn it off if your vehicle is a recent model.
When Not To Use It
However, there will be times that you should turn it off to decrease the work output of your vehicle’s powertrain. If that were to give out suddenly, you’d be putting the safety of yourself and others at risk. If you’re ever driving through mountains or other areas with steep hills and twisty turns, you should turn your overdrive off. The same is true when you’re towing something heavy with your truck or SUV. A safe rule of thumb is to turn off your overdrive when you think your vehicle is struggling to move.