View Full Version : Something fell off my car...help???

12-22-2011, 03:34 AM
Today, I heard a scraping sound as I was backing out of the driveway. When I put it in drive and starting moving forward, the scraping continued until I heard something hit the pavement and then the sound stopped. I pulled into the driveway, walked into the street and picked up a twisted piece of metal about the size of my forearm. I'm an auto-moron so I have no clue what it is or if it's important. Any ideas?

It's me
12-22-2011, 03:55 AM
Heat shield off of the exhaust system. Not knowing your car I can't tell exactly where it came from,
but likely over top of the catalytic converter. It keeps the heat from the exhaust system from making the floor of the car too hot... the converter gets super hot. You are probably okay for a while without it... but you could find floor of the car getting hot enough to melt the carpet backing.

It should be easy to put back on (baling wire!), or you can use something like heat shield mat in its place (e.g. http://www.heatshieldproducts.com/productdetail/heat-shields-and-thermal-barriers/hp-heatshield-mat/76/21).

12-24-2011, 06:19 AM
Definitely a heat shield - and it looks like the whole thing (both top and bottom covers). The mat that "It's me" recommended will do for the top cover, but without the bottom cover you don't want to park on grass/bark mulch/anything that can catch fire. From the pics, one side (don't know if it's top or bottom) looks to be in pretty good shape, but the other is mangled and might not be usable (for wiring in place).

My previous car had the heat shield start to come loose after about 10 years, mechanic wired it in place. Bring the pieces to your mechanic, and ask what he thinks would be a suitable fix (catalytic converters are expensive, and would probably be the only piece to have a heat shield). Is there emission testing where you live? If so, and your car was marginal on its last test, it might be worth replacing the cat. If not, you might want to get a cat from a salvage yard (even one that doesn't work, just to get the heat shield off it, and wire it in place over your cat).

12-24-2011, 09:31 AM
No worries. Can happen to anyone.

Back when I was 16, we had just gotten a new muffler put on my Tempo, and the very next day, it came loose and I kept driving with it trailing behind me making sparks because I didn't have any tools or any way of taking it off, no cell phone to call for help or anything.