2000 Ford Explorer Overdrive Light Flashing [7+ Easy Solutions]

The main reasons behind a 2000 Ford Explorer overdrive light flashing are slipping transmission, malfunctioning TCC, and low or contaminated transmission fluid.

There are also faulty sensors, corroded wiring harnesses, faulty catalytic converters, or a damaged valve body.

2000 ford explorer overdrive light flashing

You can fix this issue in most cases by draining the old contaminated transmission fluid, refilling it, or changing the TCC solenoid. However, the other issues mentioned above are quite common as well.

Keep reading this guide to find out about all the issues that can cause the light to flash and learn how to fix the Overdrive light flashing.

We’ll also discuss when you should drive with the Overdrive on and off. Let’s dive in!

What Does Overdrive Mean

Before we look into the potential issues that can cause trouble with the overdrive light, let’s understand what it is first. Overdrive is a feature that improves fuel efficiency at high speeds.

overdriving car

The overdrive gear has a set of gears that has a ratio of less than 1.0:1 which makes the wheels rotate more with each rotation.

It allows the RPMs of the engine to remain low even when the speed gets high.

Now, there’s the light in your dashboard that shows whether the OD is on or off. It also leads to reduced noise and keeps the suspension system of your vehicle safer in the long run.

In simple terms, you can think of OD as a gear in your vehicle that’s meant to reduce the stress of your engine.

Your car’s speed will also increase when you’re driving on overdrive as your engine will rev more times.

2000 Ford Explorer Overdrive Light Flashing [7 Easy Fixes]

We’ll discuss the most common reasons behind a 2000 or 2001 ford explorer overdrive light flashing in this section.

1. Slipping Transmission

Issues with the transmission in the car are the number one reason behind a blinking overdrive light. When the transmission gets overheated or slips out of position, it causes this problem.

slipping transmission

The transmission can become overheated when the coolant fails to keep the temperature low. To check whether it has gone bad or not, do a visual inspection of it.

If it’s corroded, that’s a good sign that you have a bad transmission in your engine. You can also take your car to a local auto repair shop and have it diagnosed for codes to confirm if you have a bad transmission.


If the transmission is overheating due to running low on transmission fluid or coolant, you need to check it and refill it if needed.

But if the damage is too severe and the transmission is already corroded, you’ll have to replace it.

The bad news is that it’s extremely expensive to change the transmission and it can easily cost $4000-$6000 including both parts and labor charges.

It covers the cost of taking both the old transmission out and installing the new one.

2. Malfunctioning TCC

The TCC or Torque Converter Clutch can malfunction and cause 2000 Ford expedition overdrive-off light flashing issues.

If the light flashes immediately when you start driving your vehicle, then you can rule this one out.

Malfunctioning TCC

But if it happens when you get to cruising speed, there’s a strong likelihood that a damaged TCC is the culprit behind it.

To test it out, drive your vehicle at around 50 mph so that all the gear shifts have been done and the TCC gets engaged. Now, slightly increase the gas pedal pressure.

Make sure you’re driving on a flat surface and avoiding hills or slopes. Observe the tachometer.


It should remain steady if the TCC has engaged. If you see an increase in the reading, it means there are issues with the TCC.

To know what’s specifically causing the issue, connect a scan tool to your car. Taking a look at the codes will reveal the main cause that’s causing issues with the TCC. For example, the P0744 error code could mean any of these things:

  • Damaged TCC solenoid valve.
  • TCC solenoid valve harness has opened or shorted.
  • The poor electrical connection in the TCC solenoid valve circuit.
  • Low-level or dirty transmission fluid.

Keep in mind that the TCC is only engaged after the transmission fluid reaches a certain temperature. So, if you have the OD light flashing on a cold engine, it’s not the issue.


The solution to getting rid of the flashing OD light will depend on the problem that’s causing it.

In most cases, TCC issues can be fixed by replacing the TCC solenoid. During other times, you may have to replace the fluid and filter.

3. Low Or Contaminated Transmission Fluid

If the level of transmission fluid is too high or too low, the transmission won’t work to its full potential.

Check the level of tranny fluid using a dipstick and see if you have a sufficient amount or not.

check transmission fluid

Even if you have too much transmission fluid, it can flood the engine and cause this issue.

The transmission fluid can sometimes get mixed with other liquids and become contaminated.

In those cases, the transmission won’t function properly and cause the Ford Explorer OD light flashing issue.

Luckily, you can check the color of your transmission fluid and easily know if you have to replace it.

The color of a nice transmission fluid can be either red, pinkish, or green. But when it gets mixed with engine oil or coolant, it usually becomes brown or another weird color.

color of a nice transmission fluid

Check the transmission filter as well while you’re at it and see if anything looks out of order.


If the level of transmission fluid in your car is low due to normal reasons, you can simply refill it and the problem will go away.

But sometimes, there could be underlying issues like a leaking transmission. In that case, refilling it will only be a temporary solution.

If there’s a leak in the transmission, it’s most likely due to a crack in the fuel lines, leaky seals, broken gaskets, and a faulty transmission pan. Unfortunately, it can cost a lot to fix it.

But if you have contaminated fluid, you’ll have to drain the old fluid out and refill it with fresh fluid.

Replace the transmission filter after changing the fluid to ensure that it’ll work well in the long run.

4. Faulty Sensors

As the name suggests, the speed sensor sends information about the speed of the vehicle to the ECU.

speed sensors

It needs to be in perfect operating condition as the engine and transmission control system relies on that information.

But the sensor can get dirty with time and give faulty readings. When that happens, it can mess up the operation of the engine and cause a 2000 or 1999 Ford explorer overdrive light flashing issue.

Besides the OD light blinking, your car will also get more difficult to handle when this sensor goes bad.

There’s also another important sensor that could be the main culprit behind this issue and that’s the range sensor.

transmission range sensor

It measures the transmission speed at any given time and sends that information to the ECU to regulate the shifting pressure when shifting gears.

That determines which gears need to be shifted at which point. Some other symptoms of a bad transmission range sensor include:

  • The vehicle completely stops moving and cannot start.
  • The transmission goes into a different gear than the one you selected.
  • The car goes into limp mode.


Let’s start with the speed sensor first. If it looks dirty upon your visual inspection, clean it first and wipe off the dust from it.

Check if that solves the problem. If that doesn’t work, you may have to replace the speed sensor.

The same goes for the transmission range sensor. If it’s no longer working properly, you’ll need to replace it.

It’ll typically cost $50 – $70 to replace a Ford explorer transmission sensor if you do it yourself.

5. Corroded Or Damaged Wiring Harness

In a vehicle like the Ford Explorer, the electrical system needs the right resistance from the wiring harness to operate properly.

wiring harness

If there’s too much resistance from it, there could be issues with the electrical system including the 2000 Ford Explorer overdrive off-light flashing.

Most frequently, the wiring harness does it as it becomes corroded with time. The build-up of unwanted materials on it makes it lose its effectiveness.

It can also get damaged if the corrosion has been present for too long. Inspect the wiring harness and see if it’s corroded or not.


Start by cleaning the corroded parts of the wiring harness if you discover that it’s not clean.

Keep at it until you can clearly see the copper. Sometimes, that’ll be enough to make the OD flashing light issue go away.

But if that doesn’t work, then maybe you have caught the problem too late and some parts of the wiring harness are already severely damaged.

In that case, you’ll have to replace the wiring harness entirely for the Ford Explorer overdrive light flashing fix.

You’re lucky if this was the issue as you can easily fix it at a cheap price as 2000 Ford Explore trailing wire harnesses only cost $25- $50.

However, if doing it doesn’t solve the issue, you have to keep on diagnosing.

6. Failing Catalytic Converter

Every car you see on the road is a harmful source of carbon emissions and produces dangerous gases like carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, and hydrocarbons.

catalytic converter

These pollutants can create severe environmental problems like poor air quality and breathing illnesses.

That’s where the catalytic converter comes in. Its main purpose is to reduce these pollutants and lower the number of carbon emissions from your vehicle.

But when it fails due to any reason, the engine will fail in controlling the build-up pressure in the car.

A 2000 or 2005 Ford Explorer OD light flashing issue can also be caused due to a failing catalytic converter.

That’s because the engine will be suffocated due to the excess amount of these harmful particles.

There are many ways in which the catalytic converter can go bad. It can get clogged up or break down inside.

If it breaks down internally, you’ll most likely hear a rattling sound when driving your vehicle.

If you’re unsure whether you have a bad catalytic converter or not, you can check it with a temperature gun. It’s supposed to be much hotter on one end compared to the other one.

Getting similar readings on both ends means that you have a bad catalytic converter. As it’s an expensive component, you want to make sure that it’s actually bad before replacing it.

Take your car to a mechanic to confirm that you have a falling catalytic converter if you don’t have a temperature gun.


The two options at your hand, if you have a bad catalytic converter, are to either repair it or replace it.

But repairing it will often be almost as expensive as replacing it. And it can also go bad again in no time when you repair it. So, you should replace it.

You can save a little by replacing the catalytic converter yourself instead of hiring a mechanic to do it. Follow these steps to replace it:

  • Turn off the engine and wait for it to cool down and locate the catalytic converter under your vehicle.
  • Loosen the bolts holding the converter in place. If they’re corroded, spray some WD-40 on them and leave them overnight. Come back the next day to work on them.
  • Get an extension bar with a socket and a wrench that fits the other side of the mounting bolt. Start pulling them and once the nuts and bolts are out, wiggle the catalytic converter from your vehicle.
  • Put the new converter in place of the old one and tighten the nuts and bolts. Test with your bare hands if there’s any leak and tighten again if needed.

It can cost close to $2000 or more to replace the catalytic converter. Not to pile on the bad news but more often than not, there’s usually an underlying issue that makes the catalytic converter go bad.

These issues include an engine that burns oil or runs too lean. If you’ve replaced the catalytic converter, diagnose your car for these issues and fix them as needed.

That will make sure that the catalytic converter lasts for a long time. Otherwise, there will be a hole in your wallet again soon.

7. Damaged Valve Body

Another potential reason behind a 2000 Ford Explorer OD light flashing is a bad valve body.

damaged valve body

It’s an important component of the transmission as it steers transmission fluid where it’s supposed to go.

It has a control center filled with passages, valves, and solenoids to make sure it happens.

It’s not common for the valve body to fail but like all components, it can get damaged by undergoing wear and tear with time.

The channels inside it can become large and abraded and deform the valve body.

The valve body gasket can also get blown and cause these issues. Here are the most common symptoms of a damaged valve body other than the OD light flashing:

  • Delays in gear shifts.
  • Transmission shifts to a lower or higher gear at the same time.
  • Slippage and shift flare issues.
  • Problems with the Torque Converter Clutch,
  • Check Engine light will turn on.


You can either repair or replace a bad valve body. But most mechanics will advise you to replace it altogether than rebuild it as it’s expected to last longer.

You can get quotes from your local auto repair shops and determine what will be better for you.

It can cost anywhere from $100 to $1000 to get the valve body depending on the quality you go for. You’ll be giving another $300 to $1000 to your mechanic to replace it.

When Should You Keep Overdrive On & Off

The simple answer is that you should usually keep the overdrive on. You’ll get better fuel economy and higher RPMs because of it.

overdrive on

You should particularly keep it on when driving at a high speed or when you’re stuck in traffic.

When you’re driving at high speeds, the engine is going through many RPMs. Keeping the OD on can reduce the stress on the engine.

The braking system in your car takes a toll when you’re in the middle of traffic as you may press it suddenly. Keeping the OD on will also cushion the damage here.

But, you should turn it off in hilly areas regardless of whether you’re going up or down. You’re better off being in a lower gear in these situations.

Using a lower gear helps the engine brake when going down a hill. That helps the engine do its work without overheating the brakes. It’s not as important to turn the overdrive off when going up a steep hill.

You’d be able to figure out when to downshift to a lower gear that’ll give you more torque when getting up the incline. But if you turn it off, that’s a safe way to stay away from any tall gear.


Is it okay to drive with a bad valve body?

Even if it’s possible to drive with a bad transmission valve body, you shouldn’t do so as it can damage the other parts of your transmission. That’ll lead to a more expensive repair bill in the future.

What does Overdrive off mean?

The OD button off represents that the overdrive gear is off, not engaged, and the torque converter is not locked. You can turn it off by pushing a button labeled OD on your gear shifter.

How to know if Overdrive is on or not?

You can easily figure out if your engine is on Overdrive by pressing the selector when you’re on the highway. If the speed increases, it’s on. Otherwise, it’s off.

How to turn off the Overdrive function on Ford Explorer?

You can do so by depressing the OD off button that’s usually found on the end of the shifter stick in a Ford vehicle. An illuminated OD will appear when this function is off.

What happens when overdrive is off?

Your car’s transmission is fixed into a lower gear when overdrive is off. The response of the accelerator will get better and the use of the engine brakes will also increase.

Is it unsafe to drive with Overdrive off?

It’s okay to turn Overdrive off as there’ll be no harm to your transmission or engine. But you’ll experience poor gas mileage and more noise at higher speeds. The only time to turn it off is when going through a hill.

What’s the difference between overdrive in Automatic and Manual transmissions?

In automatic transmissions, there will be a natural shift to overdrive gears when needed. But in manual transmissions, the car driver will shift into overdrive gear at high speeds.


Now you know the main reasons behind a 2000 Ford Explorer overdrive light flashing and how you can fix it. Keep diagnosing the issues mentioned in this guide one by one until you identify the problem.

Hopefully, you can get away with a relatively cheap fix like refilling the transmission fluid.

But you’re unlucky if there’s a big issue like the catalytic converter as it’ll cost a fortune to fix it. Anyways, let us know how it turns out, and comment below if you have any questions.

About John M

John contributed as a technical head at an automobile company just 2 years after his post-graduation in Automobile Engineering. He loves to lead a free life, so he left his job & started blogging. Now, he does research on every automotive problem, part & product and seeks a better solution & best products & shares his findings with his readers to help them as well as to minimize their struggle.

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