How to Use the Overdrive Button on a Toyota

by Contributing Writer

Most newer Toyota vehicles with automatic transmissions are equipped with an Overdrive Lockout Button on the gear selector. When you press this button, it locks you out of Overdrive, 4th gear, forcing the car into third gear. When pressed, you will usually see a light appear on the dashboard that says "O/D off." The button works as a toggle. Thus, pressing it once activates the O/D lockout. Pressing it a second time returns the transmission to its normal mode of operation. The button is useful for a number of purposes, but many forget that it is even there.

Press the button when passing another car on the highway. When passing another vehicle in an automatic transmission car, it is sometimes difficult to get the car to accelerate fast enough. Try clicking the overdrive button. By forcing the car into third gear, your engine will gain more toque and thereby be better able to accelerate past the other car.

Press the button when entering the expressway. As explained above, this will make it easier to efficiently accelerate up to cruising speed.

Engage the button when exiting the expressway. Click the button just as you turn onto the exit ramp, and let the engine help slow you down. Brakes have a greater tendency to overheat when used at high speed. Using the O/D lockout button will help to slow you down to a lower speed, at which point you can use your brakes.

Press the button when going up a long, shallow grade on the expressway. In such situation, sometimes the automatic transmission will fail to shift down soon enough, causing you to lose power. Engage the O/D lockout to force the car into thrid gear.

Engage the O/D lockout button when going down a long hill to help keep you from gaining too much speed. If the hill is steep, you may even need to shift the car down into second gear with the shifter. This will help prevent overheating your breaks.

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