Automotive Terms - O

Overdrive

A transmission gear with a ratio below 1:1, which improves fuel economy by reducing engine revolutions per minute at highway speeds. On a five-speed manual transmission, the fourth and fifth gears are overdrive. On a four-speed automatic transmission, the fourth gear is overdrive. When an overdrive gear set is engaged, the output shaft turns at a higher rate than the input shaft, reducing engine revolutions at cruising or highway speeds.

Overhead Cam (OHC)

The camshaft is on top of the cylinder head on overhead-cam engines. Single overhead-cam (SOHC) engines have a single cam above the cylinder head. Dual overhead-cam (DOHC) engines have two cams above the cylinder head. All overhead-cam engines are also overhead-valve (OHV) engines, which means the intake and exhaust valves sit atop the cylinder head.

Oversteer

Occurs when the rear tires lose adhesion under cornering. In motorsports, this is also called loose. Oversteer can lead to a spin if the driver doesn't reduce acceleration. See also Understeer.
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