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Ford Explorer Overdrive Light Flashing: What Does It Mean?

ford explorer overdrive light flashing

Many Ford Explorer owners have noticed their overdrive light flashing. It is often a warning sign, and the vehicle needs to be checked by a mechanic as soon as possible. But what exactly does it mean?

If your Ford Explorer overdrive light is flashing, don’t panic. It means that there is a problem with the transmission system.

The good news is that this problem can be fixed easily.  This blog post will discuss what might be causing the light overdrive to flash and how you can fix it.

We will also provide some tips on preventing the overdrive light from flashing in the future.

What is Overdrive?

Overdrive is a gear that helps your car move faster. By engaging the overdrive, you tell the engine to work less complicated.


This gear is typically used on highways and freeways when you need to cruise at a higher speed. The overdrive gear is usually engaged by flipping a switch on the shifter or turning a knob.

You’ll know the overdrive is engaged when the tachometer needle drops and the car runs more smoothly.

Many newer cars have an overdrive lock, which means the overdrive will stay engaged even if you let go of the switch or knob. It can be helpful if you’re driving on the highway for an extended period.

What is Overdrive Light Flashing?

Overdrive is a transmission mode in many modern vehicles that allows the engine to run at a higher RPM than usual while still maintaining power.

It can help to improve fuel economy and performance. However, when the light is flashing, the transmission is slipping out of gear or otherwise not functioning correctly.

If a strange noise or vibration accompanies the light, it’s good to pull over and call for help.

What are the Causes of Ford Explorer Overdrive Light Flashing?

One of the most common problems with the Ford Explorer is the Overdrive Light flashing. Several different things can cause this, so it’s essential to diagnose the problem correctly to fix it.

Defective Transmission

The most common causes of defective transmission include hard shifting, delayed engagement, and transmission slippage. These defects can cause severe engine damage, and they can also be expensive to repair.

One possible cause of defective transmission is low transmission fluid.

If the fluid level is too low, it can cause the transmission to overheat and slip out of gear. It can be dangerous, and it can also damage the transmission.

If you suspect that your Ford’s transmission fluid might be low, you can check it yourself. Simply remove the dipstick and check the level. If the fluid level is low, add more liquid to the transmission.

It is vital to checkout for fluid leakages. You can check for fluid leakage on the pan gasket and the bolt around it.

You can check that a loose bolt will cause fluid to leak, and you can rectify it by re-tighten the open bolt. Also, a large crack on the gasket will require changing, which you can do at home.

A minor leak will require a transmission leakage stopper.

Faulty Transmission Control Module

Another common cause of the Ford Explorer overdrive light flashing is a faulty transmission control module. It is a computer chip that controls all aspects of the transmission system.

If this chip goes wrong, it can cause problems with the transmission, including gear slippage and failure to engage the overdrive.

If you suspect that your transmission control module might be wrong, you can test it yourself. You can perform several tests to determine if the chip is working correctly.

One standard test is to check the voltage at the connector. If the voltage is low, it could indicate a problem with the chip.

Another test is to check the resistance at the connector. If the resistance is high, it could also indicate a problem with the chip.

If you suspect that your transmission control module might be wrong, you should take your car to a mechanic.

Solenoid Problem

A solenoid problem in a Ford can cause problems, from engine stalling to a complete loss of power.

The most common symptom of a solenoid issue is engine stalling, which can occur when the solenoid fails to engage the starter motor. It can happen while the engine is running or while the car is idling at a stoplight.

In some cases, the engine may not start due to a solenoid problem. Other symptoms include reduced power while driving and dimming or flickering headlights.

If you notice any of these issues, it’s essential to have your Ford diagnosed by a qualified mechanic as soon as possible.

Solenoid problems can be caused by various factors, including age, wear and tear, and corrosion.

How to Fix Ford Explorer Overdrive Light Flashing?

Transmission fluid leakage is the easiest to fix, but there’s a more significant issue if the problem is outside that. But to locate the problem, you need a scanner.

OBD2 Scanner

An OBD2 scanner is a handheld device that helps diagnose engine problems by reading the trouble codes stored in your car’s computer.


It’s a handy tool for anyone who likes to do their car maintenance, and it can be a real lifesaver if your check engine light comes on.

Most scanners will also provide live data readings to see what your engine is doing in real-time.

That can be helpful when trying to diagnose a problem. Once the scanner helps identify the problem, you will know how to solve it.

How to Prevent the Overdrive Light from Showing Again

To prevent the overdrive light from showing, you’ll want to make sure that you keep an eye on the transmission fluid levels and get the transmission flushed and replaced as needed.

You should also have the transmission filter replaced regularly. If you notice your overdrive light is coming on more often, you should have your car checked by a mechanic.

Neglecting the problem could lead to severe transmission damage.


The Ford Explorer is a big, rugged SUV that can handle anything you throw at it. But even the Explorer can have issues from time to time, one of which is the overdrive light flashing.

You can troubleshoot this problem with a few steps that can help. To begin with, check the level of transmission fluid and add more if necessary.

If that doesn’t solve the problem, you may need to take the Explorer to a qualified mechanic for further diagnosis and repair.

But usually, following these simple steps should get your SUV back on the road in no time.

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