What Is O/D OFF On Dash Board & Other Details To Know!

Seeing the yellow or orange light beam on the dashboard for the first time which says ‘O/D OFF’ can be confusing especially if you’re a novice driver.

The O/D off light on indicates that your car is in its normal gear and not in the highest gears like 5th or 6th gears. While keeping the O/D off allows your car to have reduced RPM at higher speeds, there are times when the O/D should also be off.

If you still feel puzzled, please go through the whole article to clear your head. We’ve discussed the thing in simpler words so you can just roll your eyes on the article and understand the whole O/D mechanism.

Let’s get started!

What Does The O/D OFF Mean and How Does The Feature Work?

In short, the O/D OFF means the ‘overdrive’ feature of your car is in deactivated mode. So, if you ask ‘what does o/d mean?’ The O/D here means ‘overdrive’. Now, what does Overdrive mean?

Overdrive is one of the common features widely found in automatic transmission cars that lets you drive faster. The O/D is the highest gear and it effectively reduces the engine RPM down when your car is at a high speed.

More specifically, when you drive from 60-65 km/h and higher on the highway, turning the O/D mode will increase your ride comfort and ensure improved fuel economy.

Here comes confusion between two situations that we are going to clarify below.

  • O/D OFF, light ON→ The Overdrive mode is off, your car is in the normal gear and not in the highest gear.
  • O/D ON, light OFF→The Overdrive mode is on, and your car is in beyond normal gear, meaning it’s in the highest gear.

Generally, cars come with four normal gears (1st gear, 2nd gear, 3rd gear, and 4th gear). And, beyond that limit, the 5th and 6th gears are considered the highest aka Overdrive gear.

So, when you need to speed up your car and use the 5th and 6th gears of your car, you should turn the O/D mode on for safety and better fuel consumption.

However, there are times when you shouldn’t keep the O/D mode on (e.g. when driving uphill or towing your car), we’ll discuss it in detail later.

By now, you should have all the confusion cleared regarding what does o/d off mean.

Here’s How You’ll Experience It in the O/D OFF Mode:

This time, we’ll share the ‘o/d off in car’ situation in detail.

  • The automatic transmission gearshift will run at slow RPM in this state.
  • The truck will automatically set up its settings so that you can go downhill or uphill in any terrain.
  • You will not need more braking effects to improve riding on certain roads.
  • React differently by increasing the speed of the engine and acceleration.
  • Spends less gas or fuel than the OD ON or normal mode.

Are you sure about ‘what does o d off mean in a car?’ Hopefully, you’re saying yes.

When to Use O/D or Overdrive

By now, you know what exactly the O/D feature is and what it does. Let’s introduce you to situations when you should use the Overdrive feature.

When You Drive Over 50 MPH

While driving at highway speeds, the speed of your car will go over 50 mph. The fact is, your car’s RPM increases every time you drive it at a speed of over 50 mph. And, with the O/D turned on, the RPM will decrease and you’ll get safety as well.

Therefore, when you travel highways and want to maintain consistently high speeds, turning on the O/D model will make things easier and maximize the engine’s efficiency.

With all the benefits mentioned above, you’ll experience less engine noise with the Overdrive mode turned on.

Daily Driving

In general, the O/D function should be on if you don’t have any extensive circumstances like towing your car or driving through mountainous areas. 

Turning the Overdrive on will ensure the longevity of your car as it ensures better fuel economy. Regular driving including running errands or recreational driving does not need to use lower gears. So, you can keep the function on and drive with less worry.  

When Not to Use Overdrive

As you’re this far in the article, now you know what is o/d off on dash board. As we said earlier, there are situations when it’s best to keep the O/D off for the best results. Below are some of the cases.

When You Drive at Lower Speeds

Driving slower than 40 mph doesn’t require using O/D mode because you are already in low gear. It’s just not necessary to use the operation during those situations.

While Driving Uphill

To ensure the supply of enough force necessary to propel your car uphill, it’s recommended to turn off the O/D. While driving uphill, your car needs more power to move up steep angles. Using the lower gears and keeping the ‘o/d off car’ in such cases help with braking so you have better control of your car.

During Towing or Hauling

It’s not recommended to allow your transmission to hit the highest gear when towing your car. It’s because the heavy load and high speed of the car will make things more struggling.

In simple words, towing or hauling cargo requires your car to use lower gears so you can use the maximum power you need in such a situation.

While Overtaking Another Vehicle

Well, you can overtake other vehicles with the O/D turned on, but turning it off will help your car to become more forceful and responsive. It also will make the process less time-consuming.

While Driving on Ice and Snow

Keeping the O/D off when you drive on ice and snow will keep your car controlled and well-balanced. Just like the reason why you should keep the O/D turned off while towing or driving uphill, you should do the same when driving on ice and snow to gain more traction and get your car out of any challenging situation.

How to Turn Off O/D

As you now know that there are some times you must keep the O/D turned off, you need to know the details about ‘o/d off in car how to fix’. Well, you can see the Overdrive button or ‘o/d off button’ in different locations of different cars. In most cases, it locates on the gear shifter. 

There either can be a labelled Overdrive button, or just a sign of a vehicle travelling on a hill. Below are the steps to turn your car’s Overdrive function off.

  • Inspect the left-hand side of your gear shifter, there you should see the Overdrive button.
  • If you’d like to turn the O/D off, push the Overdrive button in. An O/D off symbol will show up on the dashboard if you’re successful.

And, if you ask ‘how to turn on od in car?’, Push that button anytime to turn the O/D on.

Worth noting, you need to move the gear shifter to the next gear down in cars that do not have an Overdrive button. This is applicable for manual transmissions and you’ll get the same result, no worries.

The O/D OFF Light Flashing

As you already know the od off meaning, know that the O/D off light will turn on when the Overdrive is turned off. It’s completely okay as long as the ‘od car light’ is steady. But a flashing light may mean something different and unusual. You can compare the ‘od off light’ with a Check Engine Light which usually causes a concern with your car.

Transmission Problem

Sometimes, the O/D off light flashing indicates trouble with the transmission. It can be too low or high fluid pressure (one of the common transmission problems). In such cases, have a look at the transmission fluid so you can be sure about the main culprit here.

This is just one of the examples, your car may have several transmission issues that might require professional attention.

Solenoid Problem

The O/D light flashing also can indicate an issue with the wiring or internal mechanics related to the solenoid. The solenoid of the O/D is an electromagnetic device it requires enough attention if it’s damaged for some reason.

Sensor Issue

Chances are there’s something wrong with a speed sensor when you notice a flashing O/D off the light. The good news is the sensor issue doesn’t require any expensive fix. Just consult with an efficient mechanic whenever you face this.

Lastly, if you ask that whether the O/D off light flashing questions your safety, the answer is yes. Because the flashed light indicates a problem so it’s best not to continue driving in such a case. Just get your car diagnosed by a mechanic and take the necessary action.

O/D OFF On Dash Board Infographic

Overall Thoughts

As you know what is O/D OFF On dash board, turning the light off will be easier. I’ve given a bunch of information in this guide related to this so that you don’t panic when seeing the light beam on your dashboard.

Hopefully, you like this guide and find it handy to get all necessary details. Have A Wonderful Day Ahead!

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William Baldwin

This Is William Baldwin, The Founder & Managing Editor of this website. Me and my team share automotive tips, tricks, and news

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Talha Atta

Talha Atta, a Mechanical Engineer and experienced technical content writer and editor at Autoglobes.com with a passion for the automotive industry.