What is the O/D OFF light on Nissan cars?

O/D OFF Light Nissan, What Does It Mean?

Have you been driving a Nissan model and wondered what the O/D OFF light on the dashboard means? You will find this function on automatic models. However, most drivers pay less attention to it.

An O/D or overdrive is a function that allows your car to move at high speed more efficiently. You can refer to it as the highest gear in an automatic car transmission that requires a lower engine rpm to spin the wheels faster.

But what does O/D OFF light mean, and when should you turn it on or off? Read on to find out more!

What Is The O/D OFF Light On Nissan Cars?

What is the O/D OFF light on Nissan cars?
What is the O/D OFF light on Nissan cars?

To understand what the O/D OFF light means in your Nissan model, we should know what the O/D function does. O/D is an acronym for overdrive. This function is only available on automatic cars.

O/D allows you to drive much faster at a lower engine rpm. In other words, you get more mileage per gallon if your car is in overdrive mode. So, what does the O/D OFF light mean?

The overdrive gear is off if the O/D OFF light is on. That means your vehicle is running on a lower gear, producing more traction and torque. You can re-engage this gear by pressing a switch on the gear shifter lever.

When the O/D OFF light is off, your vehicle is in high gear. You will get more speed at this setting but a lower torque and traction. Use this mode when driving at highway speeds.

What Causes The O/D OFF Light To Come On?

The O/D OFF light is off by default and remains in the OFF state until you turn it on as driving situations may dictate. However, the system can also have faults.

The fault in the overdrive system usually results from damaged solenoid valves, automatic fluid blockage, or fluid blockage. Any of these will not turn the O/D OFF light on. Instead, it flashes.

A flashing O/D OFF light is a sure indicator of a fault. Contact an authorized dealer or certified mechanic to solve the problem and restore the overdrive functionality.

Is It Safe To Drive When The Light Is On?

Yes. You can safely drive your car with an overdrive light on. If it’s constantly on, it simply means that your vehicle is in low gear and nothing is wrong with it.

However, disengaging overdrive is not advisable in all driving conditions. You will be straining some car components and using more fuel when you want to drive at highway speeds. You can toggle the O/D OFF light on or off as necessary to gain from this system.

Some benefits of the overdrive mode include high fuel efficiency at high speeds and prolonged life of components. Your steering pump, smoke pump, suspension system, water pump, alternator, and air conditioning compressor last longer if you engage the overdrive gear appropriately.

So, driving when the O/D OFF light is on means you get more traction and torque, but you forgo the mentioned benefits.

When Should I Turn Off The Override?

Using your overdrive gear means you are exploiting the full potential of your automatic transmission system. You also get more mileage per gallon and optimize the lifespan of components. However, it does not suit every situation. There are a few exceptions, which include the following:

When should I turn off the O/D on my Nissan?
When should I turn off the O/D on my Nissan?

Towing A Loaded Trailer

Towing requires high torque and traction. That means driving at a high gear will only overload your engine, which is not efficient. You need to turn off the overdrive so that your car can run on lower gear. The highest possible gear in Nissan models when the O/D OFF light is on is gear number 4. If your vehicle has numbers 5 and 6, the system ignores them.

Driving On a Rugged Terrain

Driving on a rough road or on mountainous countryside roads will limit your speed. You will need to shift to a lower gear so that the car can generate enough torque to push it uphill. Engaging an overdrive gear in those driving conditions will wear out your transmission quickly.

Flashing O/D OFF Light

As mentioned, the overdrive light flashes if there is a fault in the system. You shouldn’t continue to drive your car in overdrive mode when you already know a problem exists. Just turn it off and find a qualified mechanic or authorized dealer at the first opportunity to fix it.

Driving At Lower Speeds

An overdrive gear is only the best option for highway speeds, typically above 50 mph. Consider disengaging this system if you want to drive slower to get more torque to move the car. So, lower gears are the best option.

How Can I Turn Off The Light?

There is a button on the gearshift lever labeled O/D. It’s what you use to toggle the overdrive gear on or off as necessary. Pressing it when the O/D OFF light is on turns it off and vice versa.


An overdrive system exists on Nissan models fitted with automatic transmission. Engaging this gear allows your car to gain speed at lower engine rpm. In other words, you will be driving at a higher gear. This function saves fuel and prolongs the lifespan of transmission and other components. However, it doesn’t suit all driving conditions. You may need to disengage it when towing, driving on rugged or mountainous roads, or at speeds less than 50 mph.

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