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When should overdrive be Engaged?

Should it be Off or On when you drive around town?

Overdrive will only engage when your car gets to the appropriate speed, which is somewhere over 40 mph, depending upon the size of the engine and the gearing of the drive axle. Since this “economy” gear is not actually engaged until you reach that type of steady speed, there is no disadvantage to keeping the shift lever (or overdrive switch/button) in the “overdrive” position all the time. That way, the transmission is ready to engage overdrive when conditions are appropriate.

It is likely that a more detailed explanation is contained in your Owner’s Manual.
I really suggest that you spend some time reading that manual, simply because if you don’t know how about the operation of the vehicle’s overdrive gear, there are likely to be lots of other topics about which you need to educate yourself–such as the very vital maintenance schedule of the vehicle.

correct in all of your reply.
people just do not read owners manuals.
many thing of importance are in the operators manual

Many Thanks I did read the Manual but your explanation is more understandable

Thank you for the compliment!

I used to write for a living, and I do come from a family of writers going back to the mid-1700s, so that may explain why my explanation was more clear than the one in the Owner’s Manual. Now, if we could only get the auto manufacturers to hire folks who know how to communicate properly…

If you are towing a trailer most mfg’rs recommend overdrive “off” for towing.

If you are in town or on hilly country roads overdrive “off” could keep the trans from shifting frequently and you will have a bit more engine braking going down hills.

No real difference as far as wear and tear on the transmission is concerned. You get a bit fewer mpg when you drive in overdrive “off”. Therefore leaving overdrive on is the best way to go in most normal driving.

I can’t speak to the Escape, but overdrive kicks in on my car at 25 MPH, when not accelerating.

Back in the old days (1930’s through the 1960’s) we had the Borg Warner overdrive units behind a 3 speed manual transmission. When the overdrive unit was activated,one would get up to about 30 miles per hour in high gear, momentarily release the accelerator, and the car would go into the overdrive gear. Before the car shifted into overdrive, the car would free wheel–there was no engine braking when one let up on the accelerator. Around town, many motorists prefered to have the engine braking and would lock out the overdrive unit. I think this is how the business of keeping the overdrive off in town got started.

On modern cars with automatic transmissions, it makes no difference around town whether or not the overdrive is on or off. The transmission selects the proper gear. When driving in hilly or mountain regions, if the transmission continually shifts in and out of overdrive, it is best to turn it off. It is probably best to keep it off when towing a trailer.