2001 Jeep Cherokee - is heat shield necessary?

Do I need the heat shield that is above the exhaust system? It fell off and was rattling so do I really need to put it back in thank you

The factory put it there for a reason. Have it reinstalled. It is cheap and easy.

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YES!!! My brother in law had the heatshield fall off his Ford and it set the carpets on fire during a highway trip. His cat was probably not working well and the engine out of tune which turned the cat into an AFTERBURNER!

No heat shield and you are literally playing with fire.