Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Is It Safe to Drive With the Overdrive Light On?

Overdrive

The overdrive (O/D) light on your dash can mean two very different things, depending on whether it is lighting up and staying on, or whether it is flashing or blinking. So, how do you know when you can drive safely and when you can’t?

Here are some things to know about driving with the overdrive:

  • If the overdrive light comes on and stays on, you have nothing to worry about. All it means is that the overdrive in your car is off. Overdrive is simply a mechanism that allows your car to maintain a steady speed while you are driving, and reduces engine speed by shifting your car into a gear ratio that is higher than the drive gear.

  • Overdrive improves fuel economy, and makes for less wear and tear on the vehicle when you are driving at highway speeds. Having the overdrive off is fine if you are driving in hilly areas, but if you are on the highway, it is best to have it on because you will get better gas mileage.

  • To get the overdrive light to turn off, and use your top gear, you should be able to locate a button on the side of your gearshift that will allow you to change the setting.

  • If your overdrive light is flashing or blinking, you are not going to be able to correct the issue by pushing a button. It means that something is wrong with your car’s transmission – perhaps the range or speed sensors, or the solenoid.

If the overdrive light is flashing, you should have a qualified mechanic come inspect your transmission. When your overdrive light begins to flash, your car’s computer will store a “trouble code” that will identify the type of malfunction that is causing the problem. Once the issue has been diagnosed, we can correct the problems in your vehicle’s transmission.

So, can you drive safely with the overdrive light on? If it is on and not blinking, the answer is yes. If it is blinking or flashing, the answer is "maybe.” Transmission problems should never be ignored, so make sure to get the issue with your overdrive light checked out, and any necessary repairs done.

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details
Icon-warranty_badge-02

Skip the repair shop, our top-rated mechanics come to you.

At your home or office

Choose from 600+ repair, maintenance & diagnostic services. Our top-rated mechanics bring all parts & tools to your location.

Fair & transparent pricing

See labor & parts costs upfront, so you can book with confidence.

12-month, 12,000-mile warranty

Our services are backed by a 12-month, 12,000-mile warranty for your peace of mind.

Get A Quote

Need Help With Your Car?

Our certified mobile mechanics make house calls in over 2,000 U.S. cities. Fast, free online quotes for your car repair.

GET A QUOTE

More related articles

P2159 OBD-II Trouble Code: Vehicle Speed Sensor B Range/Performance
Diagnostic Trouble Code (DTC): P2159 P2159 code definition Vehicle Speed Sensor B Range/Performance...
P2422 OBD-II Trouble Code: Evaporative Emissions Control System (EVAP) Vent Valve Stuck Closed
Diagnostic Trouble Code (DTC): P2422 P2422 code definition Evaporative Emissions Control System (EVAP)...
P2428 OBD-II Trouble Code: Exhaust Gas Temperature Too High Bank 1
P2428 code definition A P2428 trouble code signifies that the PCM has detected a problem in the exhaust gas temperature sensor circuit in bank 1, which subsequently contains the number one...


Related questions

Q: How do I use the window lockout feature?

The window lockout feature allows the driver to have full control of the rear windows. This makes it safer to have children or pets in the rear of the truck, where they can access the power window switch. The switch...

Q: Thumping noise after replacing motor mounts & tranny

Hello. The thumping noise that you hear is probably coming from one of the motor mounts that was replaced. The bolts that hold the mount down could be loose or it is possible that one of the mounts are defective....

Q: What are the emergency controls and can I turn them off?

The emergency controls are a set of features that turn on when your vehicle has been in an accident. When the air bags inflate, all of the doors will unlock, the interior lights will come on, the hazard lights will...