I know it makes it louder, but is that all it does?
It's labeled incorrectly - on most amps, it's the "Awesome" button. Seriously, though, overdrive is a type of distortion. The button switches the input to a hotter preamp that is specifically designed to distort the guitar. Examples of this can be heard on pretty much any guitar music that can be labeled as rock or blues in the past 60 years. Don't be afraid, hit the button and let the amp breathe. The higher the gain, the more you'll rock.
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overdrive- a button you push to disengage the rpm limiter...oops thats on a four wheeler. my amp dosnt have that button, it has bypass though:)
Overdrive in every car I've owned just made it direct drive thru the transmission or actually geared it up so that you were in a gear "over" drive gear. Never had anything with an rpm limiter.
oh wait- i am thinking of override
It adds distortion to the sound. Depending on the quality of your amp, this may or may not be desirable (i.e. distortion on cheap amps sounds like crap). Combined with different gain, bass, middle, and treble settings, you can get different sounding distortion. See this page for help adjusting the said settings.