Splash shield - Necessary? Good idea? Worth replacing?

I have a new-to-me 2014 Mazda CX-5 with 130,000 miles that is in great condition. It came with CarFax that showed the oil had been changed regularly, and all the other maintenance had been done meticulously.

But the other day I backed up and heard a scraping noise, and saw a flap of plastic under the car. A piece of the splash guard or mud shield or air spoiler thingy was dangling below the engine. I took it back to my regular oil change place because I knew they could see it from the pit, and I knew there was an oil change access door; maybe it was loose. The guy said a corner of the guard was partly torn off, trimmed it and gave me the piece. So, I’m driving around with a hole in the splash guard.

It’s been about three cars and a few years since I’ve had a vehicle with a splash guard under the engine. It runs fine without it. I know the part isn’t expensive, but I’m old and can’t climb under cars anymore, so I’d have to pay to have it repaired. Is it essential? Do I need to replace it? Soon? Or maybe when I get some other work done?

My philosophy is engineers and car makers do not spend the time or money creating un needed parts for cars.

This would probably be a very easy repair. Part of its purpose is aerodynamics.

If it was mine.
If the missing piece doesn’t cause any whistling, howling or rattling noises while driving down the road, and what’s left still keeps water from splashing on the accessory belts, I’d leave it as is.

I would add overheating to your list of things to watch out for. With aerodynamic styling comes airflow challenges. Part of the design is to ensure air flow through the radiator and around the engine is sufficient. A small chunk out of it may not be significant. The other concern would be that it is still solidly attached. Something like that departing the vehicle at high speed might not be a pleasant experience…

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