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My Dodge Ram Won't Shift Into Overdrive

by Alejandro Leopardi

Dodge Ram trucks come stock with an overdrive, or O/D, function that enables them to switch between three and four gears. When the overdrive is off, the truck operates on three gears, allowing it to pull more weight and giving it more power. When the overdrive is on, the truck operates on four gears, using less power and less gas. It is uncommon for the overdrive to fail, but if your Dodge Ram does fail to shift into overdrive there are a few causes you can investigate before taking it into a repair shop.

Turn the overdrive function on by pressing the overdrive button. The overdrive button is located below the headlight knob and next to the power mirror knob. A light should come on your dashboard informing you that it is on. Having the light come on does not necessarily indicate whether the overdrive is indeed functioning as it should, but it is a good first step. You may try turning the overdrive function on and off to try and get the light to function properly.

Put the Dodge Ram into drive and drive forward slowly at first, accelerating as you move. If the RPMs reach 4,000 to 5,000 without dropping, this could indicate that the truck is not shifting into overdrive. When the overdrive function is activated, the truck should shift at around 3,000 to 4,000 RPMs.

Turn the engine off and let it cool. Then turn the truck back on and initiate the same steps again. If the truck fails to shift into overdrive, there may be an issue with the sensor connecting the overdrive to the steering wheel panel. If you have installed any after-market additions to the truck, such as an alarm upgrade, this may cause problems with the relay. It is best to take the truck into a repair shop and have them examine it.

Tip

  • It is best to do the overdrive test drive in a parking lot or in a place where your speed will be controlled.

Warning

  • Never drive on the highway with the overdrive off, as this could cause serious engine damage.

About the Author

Based in San Diego but originally from Washington, D.C., Alejandro Leopardi has been writing marketing, news, entertainment and literary criticism articles since 2003. His articles have appeared in “Target Magazine” and “The Current.” Leopardi holds a Bachelor of Arts in communication studies and a Master of Arts in English.

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