What’s Exhaust Heat Shield For: Costs & Driving Without It

By September 9, 2021Exhaust

The exhaust heat shield is mainly used to prevent the extreme heat from your exhaust to cause fire or even seep into the cabin and cause discomfort to the car occupants. You should not remove it.

Personally, I had removed my heat shields once because they were all loose and they started to rattle. The noise was unbearable and I couldn’t help it. They just weren’t sitting in their place properly. 

Little did I know that removing exhaust heat shields could be dangerous and even cause fires. 

In this article, we are going to cover everything you need to know when it comes to exhaust heat shields. 

We will learn if you can remove the heat shield and the consequences of removing it in more detail. Then we will look at how to fix the rattling noise and then we will learn how much does it cost to replace a heat shield. 

The Use Of Exhaust Heat Shield In Car

The exhaust heat shields are a necessity to keep your cabin cool and prevent fire hazard in your surrounding environment. 

Car exhausts these days are running much hotter than they did 30 or 40 years ago. Especially on high performance vehicles. 

During the hot summer days, car exhausts can reach extremely high temperatures that can affect the comfort of the occupants and even cause fire if parked under grass or trees or plastic.

Also, the exhausts are getting so hot that they could easily melt some of the surrounding components.

There is a lot of plastic in cars these days. And if the heat from the exhaust reaches these plastic bits it could melt them and even ignite them in the worst case scenario.

Exhaust heat shields are usually made out of high strength sheets of aluminum and they also use some ceramic thermal barrier in order to further increase the thermal capabilities of the heat shield.

Exhaust heat shield

Exhaust heat shield protects your car components and the environment from extreme heat in your exhaust pipe / CAT

Can You Remove The Exhaust Heat Shield From A Car?

Removing the exhaust heat shield is not recommended – this can cause a fire hazard. The paint that is on the body of the car will burn and will flake out. 

Also, some plastic or flammable components like grass or parts underneath your car might cause fire. 

You will also have the comfort of your passengers in the cabin – typically in the backseat. This happens because exhaust pipes get extremely hot. Removing the heat shield will cause the heat to transfer from the exhaust into the cabin.

Also, if your car is running rich, it can cause some of the unburnt fuel to ignite into the catalytic converter – which can also get very hot. 

Exhaust heat shields protect you and your car from extremely hot components like the CATs and exhaust pipes. You should not remove them. If they are rattling, you may need to tighten or replace them.

How To Fix Rattling Heat Shield?

If your heat shield started to rattle. The best thing is to tighten the heat shield in place.

And if the heat shield is too damaged you should replace the heat shield with a new OEM heat shield or an aftermarket heat shield.

Mechanics tend to remove the heat shield and rip them off immediately when you take your car to repair this issue. But this shouldn’t be done since there are a lot of hazards from removing these shields.

Stock heat shields after thousands of miles tend to develop rattles. These rattles can be pretty annoying and they can frustrate you and your occupants.

This is happening because the heat shields are hitting the exhaust while you go over bumps.

How Much Does Heat Shield Cost To Replace?

Heat shields are relatively inexpensive – about $50 – $150 from car dealerships.

You should look for OEM heat shields since they are usually made with the best material.

But there is an alternative. And the alternative is the heat shield wrap tape. This tape is perfect for high performance applications.

Heat wrap retains heat really well. Which means exhaust gases stay hot and can travel faster – giving you a slight increase in performance.

Even better is that exhaust heat wrap will not cause any rattling noise like heat shields do. Though, they get worn out quicker and they leave some marks on your exhausts after some time.

The wrap aftermarket heat shield also does not cost a lot of money and you can find these heat shield products online for less than $50. 

Exhaust wrap

You can use exhaust heat wrap instead of heat shield. They keep the heat better and will not make rattling noise. But you need to replace them more often.


Here’s a YouTube video showing you how an exhaust heat wrap can be installed. You can get a heat wrap for about $25 in Amazon.


Can You Use Aluminum Foil As Heat Shield?

You shouldn’t use standard aluminum foil as exhaust heat shields. – it’s too thin can easily melt from the high exhaust temperatures.

 Aluminum used in OEM heat shields are high strength aluminum – designed to protect your car components from extremely high heat. 

You shouldn’t use tin foil as well. Similar to regular aluminum foil, it’s going to melt. 

If you want to wrap your exhaust you have to use a special wrap made out of fiberglass or similar material that can withstand a lot of heat. 

Since wrapping will need even more durable material because the heat will reach melting point.

Best Materials For Heat Shield

The best materials for heat shields are probably the Titanium and stainless steel if you want to replace your standard heat shield plate.

The advantage of titanium is the high melting point. The titanium can withstand a lot of heat and not melt. And also keep the heat out of your cabin. But it can cost a lot to buy since it is really expensive.

An alternative for titanium is stainless steel. Stainless steel is also a good option if you want to get an aftermarket heat shield. It has good thermals and it doesn’t rust which is the most important.

If you instead choose to use a heat wrap, then getting a fiberglass or titanium wrap would be the best. Since these materials are one of the best out there.

Fiberglass wrap is fairly cheap and you can find it in many places like Amazon. Also, it is extremely durable and would not melt down. 

Also, another wrap option is the titanium wrap. This is a new product that is advertised as much better than fiberglass but unfortunately is quite expensive.

Using Heat Shield For Header, Downpipe Or Intake

Heat shields do not come as standard on headers and intakes. But many people who run aftermarket components are installing them on their cars in order to reduce the heat that is created from the aftermarket turbo.

If you are running an aftermarket turbo this mod is going to be perfect for you. Since it will reduce the temperatures inside of the cabin and engine by a big margin.

Lower temperatures inside of the engine bay could yield more horsepower. The engine works better at lower engine bay temperatures and if you isolate the components that create heat you will gain a considerable amount of power.

Also, hotter gasses flow better and improve the horsepower ratings of your vehicle as well. With these mods, you can expect more than 30hp gain compared to standard.

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Ifandi L.

Ifandi L.

Passionate about everything mechanical. Ifandi has been involved with motorcycles and cars since the old days - in his family's auto parts shop. Want to keep in touch? Scream "STRAIGHT PIPEEEEE" at the top of your lungs and Ifandi will show up.

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