Recently I bought a new Camry I'd like to know...

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Sep 01, 1994

Dear Tom and Ray:

Recently, I bought a new Camry. I'd like to know what the "overdrive" is for, and when to use it. Can I only use it at certain speeds, or can I just leave it on all the time?

RAY: The short answer, Henry, is that you can just leave it on all the time.

TOM: Overdrive is simply the fourth gear on your automatic transmission. And since the transmission is automatic, it will "automatically" know when to go into, and out of, overdrive. So you don't even have to think about it.

RAY: There are only a couple of times when you'd want to turn off overdrive. One is when you're descending a long, steep hill, and you'd want to put the transmission is second or third to keep your speed under control.

TOM: The other time is when the transmission is hunting. That's not when the transmission gets dressed up in that stupid looking orange hat and vest and goes out to bag a couple of Rhino Fillets. "Hunting" is when the transmission is searching for the proper gear to be in.

RAY: Under certain conditions, like on some rolling hills, or in city traffic between 30 and 40 miles per hour, the transmission can be right on the edge between third gear and overdrive. And as a result, it keeps shifting back and forth between them. That's hunting.

TOM: While this is not great for the transmission, it's more of just an annoyance. So if you notice that your transmission is hunting a lot, and it bothers you, you may want to temporarily turn off the overdrive.

RAY: Just make sure you remember to turn it back on, so you don't drive all the way to Indonesia in third gear.

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