What is a Windage Tray?

A windage tray is an engine component designed to minimize oil sloshing in high-performance engines by keeping oil from being whipped up by the crankshaft. This device is installed between the engine block and oil pan, and uses a series of baffles and barriers to keep the oil in the pan and prevent it from spilling over onto the crankshaft.

High-performance engines produce a lot of power, but they also produce a lot of excess oil, which can cause major problems if it’s allowed to slosh around in the oil pan. This can cause the crankshaft to become immersed in the oil, creating drag and slowing the engine down.

A windage tray helps to prevent this by keeping the oil in the pan, where it belongs. In addition, it can also help to prevent oil starvation during high-speed cornering or acceleration by ensuring that the oil pickup tube is always submerged in oil.

What is a Windage Tray?

Credit: www.motortrend.com

What is the Purpose of a Windage Tray

A windage tray, also known as an oil windage tray or an oil control tray, is an important component in an internal combustion engine. Its primary purpose is to manage the oil that splashes around inside the engine’s crankcase during operation.

Here are the main functions and purposes of a windage tray:

  1. Oil Control: The windage tray helps control the movement and distribution of engine oil within the crankcase. It prevents excessive oil from being thrown onto the rotating crankshaft, which can lead to increased drag and reduced engine efficiency.
  2. Reducing Oil Foaming: By preventing the oil from splashing onto the rotating components of the engine, the windage tray reduces the likelihood of oil foaming. Foaming can lead to poor lubrication and increased wear on engine parts.
  3. Enhancing Engine Performance: The reduced drag on the crankshaft due to less oil splashing helps improve engine performance. It allows the engine to rev more freely and make better use of the power generated.
  4. Minimizing Oil Consumption: A windage tray can help reduce oil consumption in the engine by preventing excess oil from being drawn up into the combustion chamber through the positive crankcase ventilation (PCV) system.
  5. Lowering Oil Temperatures: By controlling oil movement, the windage tray can help maintain more consistent oil temperatures. This can be particularly beneficial in high-performance and racing applications where maintaining stable oil temperatures is critical.
  6. Enhancing Durability: A windage tray can contribute to the longevity of the engine by reducing wear and stress on the components. This is especially important in high-revving engines and those subjected to racing conditions.
  7. Improved Oil Pan Scavenging: Some windage trays are designed to help direct oil into the oil pan’s pickup tube, ensuring a steady supply of oil to the engine’s critical components, such as the bearings and oil pump.

Overall, the windage tray is an important component in optimizing engine performance, reducing oil-related issues, and promoting the longevity of the engine. It plays a significant role in ensuring that the engine operates efficiently and with minimal oil-related problems.

What Does a Windage Tray Do

A windage tray is a critical component in internal combustion engines, specifically in the oiling system. Its primary function is to improve engine efficiency and reduce oil consumption by minimizing the effects of oil mist and splashing inside the engine’s crankcase. The windage tray is typically positioned between the engine’s crankshaft and the oil pan.

Here’s a brief explanation of what a windage tray does:

  1. Oil Control: As the crankshaft spins inside the engine, it creates a swirling motion in the oil within the crankcase. This swirling motion, known as windage, can cause oil to be pushed up into the engine’s cylinder heads, resulting in increased oil consumption and reduced engine efficiency. The windage tray helps control this phenomenon.
  2. Oil Separation: The windage tray is designed with strategically placed openings or baffles that help separate oil from the air and oil mist swirling around the crankshaft. This separation prevents the oil mist from being drawn into the engine’s intake system, which could lead to carbon buildup and reduced engine performance.
  3. Improved Horsepower: By reducing the amount of oil mist and splashing, the windage tray can enhance engine power and efficiency. This is particularly important in high-performance and racing engines where every bit of power is crucial.
  4. Oil Pan Protection: Windage trays also serve to protect the engine’s oil pan from being overwhelmed by oil splashing, which could lead to oil starvation in critical engine components. This protection is essential for maintaining proper lubrication and preventing engine damage.

In summary, a windage tray is a simple yet effective component that plays a vital role in optimizing the performance and reliability of internal combustion engines by controlling oil mist and splashing, thereby improving engine efficiency and protecting critical engine components.

Is a Windage Tray Necessary?

A windage tray is not strictly necessary for all internal combustion engines, but it can provide important benefits, particularly in certain scenarios. Whether or not a windage tray is necessary depends on the specific application and the engine’s intended use. Here are some considerations:

  1. Street Vehicles: For everyday passenger vehicles, a windage tray is not typically considered essential. Most modern engines are designed with effective oil control systems, and the absence of a windage tray is unlikely to cause significant issues. However, some high-performance or luxury vehicles may still use windage trays to optimize engine performance and longevity.
  2. Performance and Racing Engines: In high-performance, racing, or modified engines, windage trays can be highly beneficial. They help maximize power output by reducing parasitic losses caused by oil mist and splashing. These engines operate at high RPMs and under extreme conditions, where every bit of power and oil control matters.
  3. Off-Road and Extreme Conditions: In off-road vehicles, heavy machinery, or any application where the engine operates at extreme angles, a windage tray may be necessary to prevent oil starvation during aggressive maneuvers. It helps ensure consistent oil flow and lubrication.
  4. Custom Engine Builds: Some engine builders choose to install windage trays as part of a custom engine build, tailored to their specific requirements and preferences. It can be a valuable addition in these cases, depending on the design goals.

In summary, a windage tray is not universally necessary, but it can be a useful component in specific applications where optimizing engine performance and oil control is critical. Whether or not to use one should be determined based on the engine’s intended use, operating conditions, and performance goals.

If you have concerns or questions about whether your engine would benefit from a windage tray, it’s advisable to consult with a knowledgeable mechanic or engine builder for a more personalized assessment.

Oil…Control, Windage and Pressure

Factors To Consider When Choosing A Windage Tray

Choosing the right windage tray for your engine is crucial, as it helps reduce oil drag and improve overall performance. There are different types of windage trays available in the market, including one-piece and three-piece designs. It’s essential to choose one that is compatible with your engine and provides a proper fit.

Material construction also plays a vital role in determining the effectiveness of a windage tray. High-quality materials like aluminum and steel are ideal for durability and longevity. Lastly, the cost is a crucial factor to consider, as windage trays can vary in price depending on the brand and features.

When choosing the best windage tray, it’s essential to balance all these factors to ensure optimal performance and longevity for your engine.

Installation And Maintenance Of Windage Tray

A windage tray is a device that helps regulate the oil flow within your engine. During high rpms, oil may splash up and cause the crankshaft to slow down, which affects the engine’s overall performance. A windage tray helps prevent this by controlling oil mist and keeping it away from moving parts.

Installation involves removing the engine’s oil pan and inserting the tray. It’s important to choose a tray that’s compatible with your engine and make sure it fits properly. Maintenance involves inspecting the tray every time the oil is changed, making sure it’s clean and in good condition.

Common issues include the tray becoming clogged with debris, which can cause engine damage. Troubleshooting involves inspecting the tray, oil pump, and pickup tube. Keep in mind that a well-maintained windage tray is crucial for improving your engine’s performance and preventing costly repairs.


Overall, windage trays are an incredibly important component for your engine’s performance and longevity. While many people might not even know what they are, they play an essential role in maintaining oil control within the engine. Without proper oil control, you’ll find yourself with a variety of issues ranging from decreased horsepower to even engine failure.

When you add in the fact that many high-performance engines generate more windage than standard engines, it’s clear that a windage tray becomes even more critical. By preventing oil from escaping the crankcase, windage trays ensure maximum horsepower output while at the same time preserving the life of your hardworking engine.

So, if you’re working on updating your engine or building a new one from scratch, don’t forget the importance of a windage tray in keeping your engine running strong for years to come.