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When Should I Use Overdrive on My Motorhome?

by Anonymous


When to use overdrive in a motor home?

ANSWER: Hi thanks for submitting your question on our Ask An RV Question Page

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Since you do not tell me whether your motorhome is powered by Gas or Diesel or its make, model or year; I will have to speak in general terms on using overdrive.

Overdrive is basically just another gear in your motorhome's transmission. Overdrive is a large gear in your transmission that when used properly can increase fuel mileage especially in flat surface and highway driving conditions.

When you have overdrive turned on, your motorhome's transmission will automatically switch to that larger (taller) gear when it can. Because the gear is larger the engine has to use less RPMs to keep the motorhome moving down the road and less RPMs means less fuel usage.

If you have a newer motorhome you can normally leave the overdrive activated and the transmission will take care of switching back and forth to overdrive when it should. If your motorhome is from the early 90s or older you may want to switch the overdrive off when climbing hills. Because some of these older transmissions sometimes struggle to keep the motorhome in the proper gear for the conditions when climbing hills the motorhome could start lugging or using the higher gear when it shouldn't which is hard on the engine and transmission.

Even in newer motorhomes you should turn off the overdrive if you hear your motorhome's transmission constantly hunting for the proper gears. Again the fuel savings of overdrive are best experienced when driving at highway speeds on flat surfaces.

By turning off your overdrive when descending hills the transmission will not use the larger gear and the engine and transmission will help in reducing your downhill speed. In fact the only time I deactivate overdrive on my motorhome is when going down large hills. In some cases on very steep and curvy downhill grades I will manually switch the automatic transmission to an even lower gear to have the engine and transmission help in maintaining proper downhill speed and help prevent over using the brakes and having them possibly experience brake fade.

If you have a diesel motorhome most of them come with some kind of engine brake just like on the big rigs that you see going down the road. The engine brake if operated properly can also be used to reduce downhill speeds.

The Bottom Line: If you have a newer motorhome you are safe to leave the overdrive on except when descending large hills.

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I hope this information has been helpful.

Do you have any suggestions or comments on this topic? You can add them to this page by clicking on the "Click Here To Post Comments" link located near the bottom of this page.

Happy RVing

RVing Al

photo credit: Scania Group via photopin cc

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damon daybreak
by: Anonymous

hi Trev here my coach is as above petrol lpg long range she is so fugal on fuel for the size off her seven half tonnes i wish i had one of these in my early days.not wasted alot of money erope and british made coach built motorhomes made for
super thin people.............cheers for information thanking you

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