An oil pan is probably one of the most boring parts of the car-it's there to store oil, period. It doesn't have any mechanical parts, it doesn't take you a minute to detach it, and sometimes you don't even need to remove it to let the oil flow out. But did you know that it plays a very exciting and important part in keeping your engine cool and well-lubricated? The oil needed by your engine comes from this humble pan, and from there it gets distributed to other parts of your engine and your car. Your engine's oil plays an essential part in controlling temperature and lubrication, and as such, having leaks in your oil pan will lessen your engine's effectiveness.
Stock vs. aftermarket
If your oil pan has leaks or has developed damage or corrosion over time, a replacement pan with the same qualities and specifications as your stock pan will do the job. However, if you are planning to upgrade your car's performance, starting with an upgraded oil system-the oil pick up, oil pump, filter, bypass system, and of course, the oil pan-is key. Aftermarket oil pans improve on what the stock pan does. With their specialized design, they provide better oil control, greater durability, and even more horsepower for your engine. Deciding between getting a replacement factory oil pan and an aftermarket product will depend on what you are planning to use your car for.
Street vs. racing
If you're planning to build a dependent street car, look for an oil pan with a windage tray or crank scraper. The frequent turning, acceleration, and braking can cause the oil to flood to the sides of the oil pan. The windage tray and crank scraper can make your oil pan keep up with the repeated movement of oil inside the pan. They can also help prevent the buildup of excess oil on the crankshaft, which adds rotating weight and consequently reduces horsepower.
On the other hand, if you're going to use your car in drag racing, buy a specific one for the job. In drag racing, there won't be much oil movement while your car is traveling on a straight line. When you hit the brakes, however, oil splashes inside the pan. Because of this, a trap door is a standard feature of a drag pan. Look for aftermarket oil pans that have an oil recovery pouch to control the oil movement and route the oil back to the sump.
Always make sure that when buying a larger aftermarket oil pan, you consider its size and ensure that it will fit in your car. Some items like headers, cross members, and sway bars may interfere with larger pans. Otherwise, if you're just looking for a replacement for your worn-down oil pan, your best bet is a replacement factory product.