OEM vs Aftermarket Car Parts for Classic Car Restoration

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When it comes to restoring classic cars, owners are often particular about how they choose to go about it. Restoring classic cars is often done out of a desire to return the car to its true, authentic form.

These hardcore enthusiasts have a different vision in their minds of what the perfect version of a classic car looks like, and it usually involves only original parts. However, there are plenty of people who simply want to get their classic cars up to functional, driveable quality so they can show them off on the road and at car shows.

The internal, unseen car parts in these vehicles usually aren’t of as much importance to these types of classic car owners, just as long as they work properly. There are other reasons why you might choose OEM over aftermarket and vice versa, so in case you’re into restoring classic cars, let’s go over a few of them.

The Difference Between OEM and Aftermarket

OEM stands for “original equipment manufacturer”. OEM parts are made by the original manufacturer of the vehicle, being specifically designed for that make and model. Aftermarket parts are made by third-party companies. They are usually more one-size-fits-all type parts that can work in a variety of different makes and models.

Pros and Cons of OEM Parts

OEM parts are often higher quality than aftermarket parts. They are also more likely to work without any issues or hiccups. They also qualify as 100% authentic for those who are pursuing the vision of a perfectly restored classic car.

These parts are more expensive, though. They’re also harder to find and can take much longer to procure. Especially if you have a rare classic car, OEM parts for it will be that much harder to find. The rarer the car, the rarer the parts.

Pros and Cons of Aftermarket Parts

Aftermarket parts are cheaper and more readily available than OEM parts. Although they tend to be of lesser quality than OEM parts, you can find aftermarket parts of perfectly fine quality if you know where to look.

There is, however, a higher chance of non-compatibility or things not running as smoothly as they could when you use aftermarket parts. Again, this isn’t always the case, though.

The biggest upside of using aftermarket parts on classic cars is the customization options available. With OEM parts, there is no customization. The car was made one way one with one type of parts and that’s all you can get.

But, if you aren’t worried about having a 100% authentically accurate version of your classic car, you’re in luck. Many classic car owners have built an entire niche around customizing classic cars in every way imaginable. If that’s what you’re into, aftermarket parts are definitely the way to go.

Choosing Classic Car Parts Comes Down to Personal Preference

If you’re looking to complete a classic car restoration, there are a couple of ways you can go about it. When it comes to choosing parts for a classic car, you can either opt for OEM or aftermarket parts. OEM parts are original and authentic, made only for that specific car. Aftermarket parts are more versatile and as a result, much more customizable.

“In the end, your ideal choice of classic car parts really depends on whether you’re a purist looking to recreate a classic car exactly as it was when it first hit the market, if you’re an enthusiast who just wants a functional classic car to use and show off, or if you’re a creative who wants to play around with different types of customized parts for your classic car.” – Corey Tyner of Corey Buys Classic Cars 

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