My heat shield fell off and I was told by one garage that the shield cannot be put back on and that a whole new catalytic converter was needed. Is this true? Any experience on this out there?
No, it’s not true. [For that garage, it may be true.]
Go to any reputable muffler, and, you should find one who will weld a heat shield on for a nominal charge.
Do you have the old heat shield? If not then there’s nothing to weld on. And nobody makes aftermarket heat shields for catalytic converters. So if you want a heat shield a new cat has to be installed.
But this nothing to worry about. Cat heat shields are removed or lost from vehicles everyday without any problems arising from the missing heat shield.
Not sure if I have an old heat shield. The car is a 1999. Is a heat shield required for Virginia inspection?
I can’t answer your question about the Virginia inspection. But I can tell you that I’ve rewelded loose heat shields back onto catalytic converters because they made noise. Or they were simply removed because there wasn’t anything left of the heat shield where it was effective as a heat shield,