Heat shields are metal guards that surround the various pieces of your vehicle’s exhaust system. They are virtually there to “shield” other materials and parts from the exhaust’s excessive heat. There are two shields: a top and a bottom one. The bottom heat shields are there so that if you park on tall, dry grass or another combustible material, your 600º exhaust won’t set it on fire. This does not happen often, but it can be quite a show when it does. The top heat shield works to prevent the heat of the exhaust from going upward, toward the floor of your car. Depending on what piece of the heat shield becomes missing, it can cause the bushings in your shifter to dry out or even melt the bottom of your shoes to become one with the interior carpet. Since the heat shields are continually being exposed to some elements, they are vulnerable to rusting and breaking loose.
Apart from heat shields, there is also something known as an exhaust heat wrap. There are two main reasons that people wrap their exhaust – for radiant heat control or slight performance gains. On the safety side, heat wrap products are rated to drop under-the-hood temperatures by up to 50%. On the performance side, header wraps are designed to keep the heat inside the heater and contain it, therefore increasing exhaust gas temperatures. A higher exhaust temperature helps with raising speeds and lowering intake temperatures. After all, a more relaxed air intake system is better for the car performance-wise, which is why so many people choose to do that mod first.
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