Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

Torn Shield on undercarriage

There is a shield located underneath the are of the engine on my 2001 Toyota Solara where the radiator is located that has gotten torn badly enough that it was hanging down, so I took it off. Is this an essential part, and will there be further damage done by not replacing it?

It may be there for protection of hoses and stuff. What is it made of?
If plastic, it probably doesn’t protect much at all.

Most likely this is a splash shield that keeps large amounts of water from getting into places where it shouldn’t go. Some of them also help to direct the airflow for proper cooling. I’d replace it if it were my car.

Those parking lot curb-stones take their toll…More than likely, the only place you will find that splash-pan will be in a salvage yard…With the pan removed, your radiator and A/C condenser may be more vulnerable to damage from the same hazards that destroyed the splash pan…Be careful when you park, avoid those parking lot blocks!

In Mexico, my 2002 Sienna got a damaged shield under the gas tank connections, when I was required to drive through a mound of construction dirt that had a rock in it. I had my SIL help me put a new one on. Yes, it is there to protect the shielded parts from the damage which harmed the shield itself.

The way to think of it is, if you hit that shield hard enough to wipe it out, you will eventually hit the parts under it and that will perhaps shut your car down. Be glad it is only the shield.

For Toyota Sienna, the dealer ordered me a new part.

I’d definitely replace it. It is a splash shield, and it not only protects cavities in the metal ody structure from getting splashed, but also the electronics in the engine compartment. And, if you’re again forced to drive through a mound of construction dirt with a rock in it, you’ll have the extra protection.

Think of it this way: if a knight in armor’s breast plate got damaged, he’d be a fool to discard it and not replace it, knowing full well that he’ll be fighting again.

That plastic piece is an air dam. What this does is it forces the air to go under the vehicle as it’s moving down the road to prevent air turbulance under the vehicle which causes drag. And drag reduces fuel mileage. But it’s not absolutely necessary.


Not sure what damage could be done, but if the shield is just torn, then you might look at using doubler plates and common nuts and bolts to repair the tear. The doubler plates are about 1.5"x4" and have 4 holes in them. Use them in pairs, one each side of the shield and bolt through. If the tears are around the bolt holes, get large washers to use around the holes. All of this is available at a hardware store.

Some are splash shields, some air dams, some both functions. I know this, the one that was on one of my Camaros was definitely an integral part of the engine cooling scheme. Left off, the engine overheated at the most inopportune time. Here’s my philosophy- I never omit or mess around with factory fan shrouds, splash shields or air dams unless I fully understand their intended purpose and can prove that modifying or removing them will have no adverse consequences. Personally, I’d either fix or replace it. Keith has suggested the most economical repair and while it’s off the vehicle it will be super simple to do.

Thanks for all the feedback. I will try to locate one and replace it.