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Questions and Answers

What The Heck Is O/D??

Q. Just bought yesterday the Honda Element 4WD EX with automatic transmission and reading the manual the gear shift has an overdrive button which you press to turn off. I'm female and 60 years old and have no idea about that button, what is O/D for?

What The Heck Is O/D??

I drive stop and go in city traffic. Would I leave the O/D on or off? And in freeway driving on or off? Any harm in just leaving it on all the time. I don't think I'll remember to turn it off. And if you could explain O/D in really basic terms would appreciate it.


A. O/D stands for Over Drive. In basic terms it is another gear. If your transmission is a three speed, the O/D makes it a four speed. It is comparable to fifth gear in a manual transmission. The reason for the O/D is to let the engine work less harder while maintaining the same vehicle speed. It does save fuel on the highway and that is the main reason for it.

Whether you should leave it on or off depends a great deal on where you drive. If most, say 50% to 75% of your driving is local city driving below 40 mph, you should leave it off. If most of your driving is highway above 45 mph, then it would be best to leave it on.

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