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Ford Ranger Overdrive Light Flashing – Why And What To Do?

Overdrive is a speed monitoring feature in a car. When your Ford Ranger overdrive light starts to flash, you may be wondering what's causing the issue and how it can be fixed. Fortunately, we have consulted experts in this field, and here is what they have to say.

Problems like an overheated transmission, a dirty speed sensor, a corroded wiring harness, a faulty catalytic converter, or a bad valve body can cause a Ford Ranger's overdrive lights to flash. Here are some things you can do to fix the issue:

  • Replace the overheated transmission.
  • Clean the speed sensor.
  • Replace the bad valve body.
  • Change corroded wiring harness.

How easy or difficult it will be to solve this problem with your Ford Ranger depends on the cause. Keep reading to get detailed information on how to tackle a flashing overdrive light in a Ford Ranger.

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Ford Ranger trekking on the desert, Ford Ranger Overdrive Light Flashing - Why And What To Do?

Why Is My Ford Ranger Overdrive Light Flashing?

A Ford Ranger's overdrive system monitors the performance of the engine and other parts. When some components go bad, the overdrive light may start flashing. Here are the most common reasons why this problem occurs:

A blue Ford Ranger doing a vertical climb

Overheated Transmission 

The transmission may be to blame when a Ford Ranger's overdrive light suddenly starts to flash. It is most likely a sign that the transmission is overheating and causing the problem. 

Worn out car transmission

Transmissions overheat when the engine's coolant is unable to keep the transmission temperature at a safe level. The failure to keep the engine cool forces the transmission to become corroded. If it's not fixed, it could cause the overdrive light to flash. 

Dirty Speed Sensor

A dirty speed sensor can be one of the reasons why a Ford Ranger's overdrive light flashes. For your car to perform well, the engine and transmission control systems both rely on the information provided by the speed sensor. Therefore, the performance of the overdrive will be impacted by a broken or dirty speed sensor. 

A speed sensor on a white backgroud

In other words, a dirty speed sensor will make it more difficult for you to operate your car securely. Consequently, it may lead to the flashing of the overdrive light. 

Corroded Wiring Harness

The wiring harness's excessive resistance is another potential factor. This might result in the vehicle stalling while in motion or possibly the overdrive light flashing. 

Damaged wire harness

The wiring harness in the Ford Ranger is made up of a number of wires that send signals from the engine to the different parts of the car. The wiring harnesses can corrode and result in issues with your car's electrical system.

Faulty Catalytic Converter 

Catalytic converters help vehicles emit fewer pollutants into the atmosphere. When your catalytic converter fails, your engine will struggle to control the pressure buildup. 

Catalytic converter of a modern car bottom view

A Ford Ranger's overdrive light may start to flash when the catalytic converter becomes faulty. Your engine won't be able to "breathe" because the catalytic converter is essentially "choked" by an accumulation of particles.

Bad Valve Body

A disassembled car valve body

The transmission valve body regulates all shifts and functions as a brain. However, the valves will eventually degrade, the channels may become enlarged and abraded, and the entire valve body unit may deform. Due to a bad valve body, a Ford Ranger's overdrive light may start to flash, even though the transmission fluid is appropriate.

What Should I Do If My Ford Ranger Overdrive Light Starts Flashing?

A modified Ford Ranger parked on the street

It could be unsettling if your overdrive light is on. However, there are several steps you can take to address this problem. Here are some of them:

Replace The Overheated Transmission

Driving with an overheating transmission increases the likelihood of significant transmission damage. You should consider replacing the overheated transmission to resolve the problem.

Stop as soon as you can and wait for your engine and transmission to cool down, or even better, have your vehicle towed to a repair shop. 

Clean The Speed Sensor

The overdrive light might flash when the various parts of the speed sensor accumulate dust and debris from the road as a result of frequent hard braking. 

In this case, you should thoroughly clean the speed sensors to stop the overdrive light from flashing and to avoid damaging the anti-lock braking system.

Replace Bad Valve Body

Every automatic transmission has a component called the valve body that serves as the system's primary control hub.  A malfunctioning valve body can cause problems including noise during gear shifts, slippage, delays, overdrive light flash, and difficulties when reversing. You should replace a bad valve body as soon as you can.

Change Corroded Wiring Harness

Examine the wiring harness for corrosion. If it's already corroded, remove the corrosion until clean copper can be seen. You may need to completely replace the corroded wire harness to get a better outcome and stop the overdrive light from flashing.

Replace Faulty Catalytic Converter 

You may need to repair or replace the catalytic converter if analysis reveals that it is the reason why the overdrive light is flashing. Catalytic converter repairs typically cost between $945 and $2475 for most automobiles. A catalytic converter can cost up to $2250 on its own. 

How Do I Turn Off My Ford Ranger OD Light?

You can turn off your Ford Ranger overdrive light by pushing the overdrive selector located on the gear shifter

Ford Ranger automatic vehicles have an on/off overdrive switch on the gearshift. However, it may not display "overdrive," which often depicts a car climbing a slope. 

You may turn it off and deactivate the overdrive by pushing the OD off switch. Some automatic transmissions allow you to choose between D4 and D3, which determines the highest gear the automobile will shift into. That will keep you out of overdrive in either case.

Should The Overdrive Be On Or Off?

For everyday driving, you should always have the overdrive on. No matter what you decide, your car will always go into high gear if necessary.

However, there are specific circumstances in which engaging the overdrive gear might enhance the performance of the vehicle. When you are traveling at highway speeds, using the overdrive helps you conserve fuel and reduces vehicle wear and tear. 

When traveling on a highway, it is advisable to have overdrive on because it will improve your gas mileage. However, it is best and advisable to have it off when in mountainous terrain.

What Happens If You Drive With Overdrive Off? 

Driving with overdrive off is not harmful and will have no negative effects on the transmission. At high speeds, though, there may be high fuel consumption and increased noise.

Unless you are climbing or descending a steep slope, there is really no reason to leave it off. At any speed or time, you can activate or deactivate overdrive.

Is A Ford Ranger Faster With Overdrive On Or Off?

Overdrive is automatically engaged in most automatic vehicles. You ought to leave it on for the majority of driving circumstances. Overdrive in Ford Ranger frequently raises shift points to higher RPMs. 

This enables your car to engage all of its gears, even the highest one. While maintaining NVH (noise, vibration, and harshness) at a more bearable level, overdrive optimizes fuel efficiency.

However, if you want to accelerate quickly, it's better to have overdrive off. Leave it on for better fuel usage and a calmer ride. 

Does Overdrive Consume More Fuel?

No, overdrive does not consume more fuel. Your car's engine speed lowers when overdrive gearing is engaged. By doing this, fuel is saved, and engine wear is decreased. 

You can reduce your gasoline consumption and save money by using overdrive. You will find that your car runs more smoothly and quietly than other cars. 

However, when the overdrive is off, you can always travel in total safety, but it will use up more fuel, and it won't make for a wonderful driving experience. 

How Do I Reset My Ford Ranger Overdrive Light?

You have two options for resetting your overdrive: either use a deep scanner or the less expensive method, which involves removing and reinstalling your positive battery cable.

Have a trained mechanic check out your transmission if the overdrive light is blinking. Your car's computer will record a "trouble code" when your overdrive light starts to flash that will let you know the source of the problem.

To Wrap Up

Ford Ranger trekking on the desert, Ford Ranger Overdrive Light Flashing - Why And What To Do?

In this article, we have addressed some typical issues that might be causing your Ford Ranger's overdrive light to flash and how to remedy them. But if the issue persists, you should call for professional assistance.

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