I have a Pontiac G6 with an automatic v6 engine. Lately when I want to go above 70mph, the engine needs to rev at almost 5,000 RPM's, which seems high. I used to use cruise control every day but it hasn't been working lately either.

Could these be related, or is one causing the other?

  • What is the RPMs just below 70, say at 55 or 65? Before it goes balistic ... – Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 Sep 28 '16 at 0:30
  • Is the check engine light on? Does it shift through all the gears sequential as speed increases. – Fred Wilson Sep 28 '16 at 3:13
  • Any chance "overdrive" is on? – tlhIngan Sep 28 '16 at 3:55
  • @Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 approximately 3-4K – munale Sep 28 '16 at 3:55
  • @FredWilson check engine light is on but it has been for a while. I feel like it's only shifting like twice – munale Sep 28 '16 at 3:56

Based on your replies to comments, here's the diagnosis: Most likely, you tripped the overdrive. Most modern cars have this, and most people don't know about it. Look at 2 things:

  • look at your shifter, there should be a second button under the shifter button. That's the button that activates and deactivates the overdrive.
  • Look at your dash, there should be a light on somewhere, probably amber in colour, indicating the overdrive is activated.

What the overdrive is, really, is it either allows or prevents the car from shifting into high gear. Shifting into high gear saves gas, preventing a shift into high gear keeps you on a better gear ratio and in higher RPMs, therefore in a better powerband.

Some model years of the G6 only had a 4-speed automatic, therefore disabling the overdrive will leave you with 3 gears:

  • that's why it's only shifting twice (1st, 2nd then 3rd)
  • that's why the RPMs are over 5,000, you are doing 70 mph in 3rd gear!
  • and that's why the cruise control isn't working, it's not supposed to be functioning with the overdrive off

Click that button once and see if the car goes back to normal. :)

| improve this answer | |
  • I checked and there doesn't appear to be an overdrive button. It does have a separate gear for 3 – munale Sep 28 '16 at 12:47
  • 2
    Get your trouble codes read, it may be a shift solenoid that's gone bad. – tlhIngan Sep 28 '16 at 18:33
  • Nice answer. +1. – DucatiKiller Sep 28 '16 at 19:59
  • @munale - When you say there's a separate indicator for "3", you are saying this is just below the "D" on the selector? D will allow it to go into overdrive. 3 will keep it in that gear. You really need to get the codes read. I'd bet you are in some sort of Limp Home Mode. – Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 Sep 28 '16 at 19:59
  • Yeah it's P R N D 3 L with no discernible overdrive button. Can I get codes read anywhere? – munale Sep 28 '16 at 20:02

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.