The truth about overdrive


LawnSite Senior Member
chicago suburbs
All right everyone i'm confused. one time i here it's better to haul a trailor with overdrive on like normal driving. The next time i here its better with it off while hauling, what is it? I'm worried about my trans (2000 Explorer) it seems like it started to slip maybe. What is the correct way:( ;)


LawnSite Member
Cheyenne, WY
I used to haul cattle. 120,000 miles a year. Ford PS with auto. Never took it out of overdive. Never had a problem. Pulled a 24' gooseneck with average of 9,600 -10,000 pounds of cattle.


LawnSite Bronze Member
Overdrive on... It only kicks in when it needs to, so if it goes on you need to stop, lol:cool:


LawnSite Member
From what several licensed mechanics have told me. When hauling a load like a trailer what usually happens is that on an automatic almost all vehicles shift to early and cause the engine to work extra hard on the tranny to get it's self up to the right speed. I've always driven in drive until it's near usually 90-100 KM/h about where the vehicle is set to shift to OD. Then shift to OD never a problem haven't had any problems with tranny's slipping yet I do the same in winter when I plow

Metro Lawn

LawnSite Silver Member
Owners manuals for Ford, GM, and Dodge all recommend turning the overdrive off when towing or severe transmission damage may occur.


LawnSite Member
190K on my 95 f-150. I towed with the O/D OFF with it every day during the lawn season for 4 years, and Its still running great today. Make sure you have a large "plate" style tranny cooler. You should also change the fluid anually.


LawnSite Fanatic
Memphis, TN
The trans in SD and HD trucks are different. Much stronger.

In 1/2 ton trucks the OD should be turned off when pulling unless your at highway speeds. In town driving should have the OD off. The OD has less clutches in it. The going in and out under heavy load will kill them.


LawnSite Silver Member
As several have already said:

OD is ok for flat, highway speeds.

Pulling hills and in town should be out of od. Multiple auto shifting not good.

I think you should have a transmission cooler on anything, especially a 1/2 ton. Many of the 3/4 and 1 tons come with this from the factory.

Owner manuals say to change fluid every 35k. If you're towing a lot, more frequent changes is cheap insurance.

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