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Exhaust heat shield on Catalytic Converter

My wife drives a 2001 Suzuki XL7. While she was out, the exhaust heat shield fell off the catalytic converter. My question is does this affect the car’s ability to function in any way? Is it still safe to drive? My wife is freaking out over it. Thanks!

Losing a heat shield will have no effect on how the vehicle operates. Heat shields are lost all the time. Just look on the side of the road after the snow melts and you’ll see these thin pieces of metal strewn all along the shoulders of the roads.


Yep. The shields fell off the cat on my CRX years ago. Makes no difference. I figure they’re there for liability purposes, so that if your car catches fire (or starts a grass fire) you can’t blame the un-shielded cat and sue the manufacturer.

Generally it will be fine, but as noted tall dry grass could end up give you a really impressive car fire. It also is possible that it might hard the carpet in the car above it.

My general philosophy on subjects such as this is that they do not spend money putting parts in that are not needed. There may be no imminent catastrophe at hand but if it was my car I would have it replaced.

Then you would have to replace the catalytic converter assembly in order to replace the missing heat shield. They don’t sell aftermarket heat shields for cats.

Missing heat shield? Or new cat?


My muffler guy welded a split in my catalytic converter for 15 bucks. I gave him a call, He said the bottom heat shield they usually only replace if the person does driving in grassy fields etc. If it is the top heat shield it should be replaced and an after market heat shield replace is $35.