Avery Dennison Graphics Solutions Blog / How to Post Heat for an Even Vehicle Wrap

How to Post Heat for an Even Vehicle Wrap

Technical Specialist Molly Waters provides the 411 on proper post heating for vehicle wraps.

Ever since I started to learn about wraps over 20 years ago, I have been told how important it was to post heat. I have heard different explanations; the two most common were “breaking the memory” or “resetting the memory” of the film. These are basically correct.

The simple step of post heating will prevent the film from lifting up and failing after installation. It also serves as an opportunity for a close up quality check of your wrap. As you go over areas that require the post heat you can look for areas that may have been missed or areas where air is accumulating to form bubbles.

What Areas Need Post Heating?

A good rule of thumb is to post heat any area where the film has been stretched more than 10%. This is especially important on recessed areas where the film is prone to lifting. These areas include, but are not limited to, door handle cups, window channels on vans, channels around wheel wells, like on the Chevy van, bumpers as well as along panel edges where the film was stretched such as mirrors.

What is the Post Heat Temperature?

The recommended post heating temperature for Avery Dennison films is 175°-195°F. It is important to use an IR thermometer to double check your post heating temperature. You will find that 175°-195°F is a lot hotter than you realize, and using an IR thermometer will ensure that you hit the proper temperature. The IR thermometer doesn’t need to be an expensive unit; the one I use regularly is just a $20 device from Harbor Freight. In addition to the low cost it is relatively compact, so it is easy to put in my tool belt to keep it handy.

Heat Gun vs. Torch for Vehicle Wraps

It has been my experience that the torch does not work well for post heating. The torch produces a very intense and focused heat that tends to burn the film before it reaches the post heat temperature. The heat from a heat gun puts out a wider cone of heat and will heat a larger area.

The Process of Post Heating

If you watch Justin Pate’s post heat video on the Avery Dennison YouTube page, you will see there a few different options for post heating. Note all methods show using an IR thermometer, however one of the higher end heat guns actually has the IR thermometer built in instead of using a separate device.  

As Justin demonstrates in his video, you simply point the IR at the area to be post heated while keeping the heat gun moving slightly so the film isn’t burned. Once you reach a minimum temperature of 175°F, move along the vehicle. This process actually does not add a lot of time to your installation, and it also helps ensure that the vehicle will not come back for vinyl lifting.

Post Heating Without Hitting Minimum Temperature

If you choose not to post heat or don’t double check your temperatures to ensure you are achieving the minimum post heat temperature, there is a good chance the film may lift. This is especially true in areas where there is a lot of tension in the film. The best example of this is in Justin Pate’s video at around the one minute mark, where he demonstrates door cups that are both properly and improperly post heated. When he removes the film from the vehicle and applies heat to it, the improperly post heated piece shrinks back to its original form while the properly post heated piece keeps its shape.

I typically recommend installing the entire side of a vehicle or at least several panels then go back and post heat. This gives the adhesive time to build on the panel, and if there is any air trapped under the panel, it will accumulate into pockets that can be pressed out as you work.

It is also recommended to do a final inspection the day after your wrap before releasing it to your customer. This gives you the opportunity to do one last inspection.

Happy Wrapping!


To learn more about Avery Dennison Graphics Solutions, visit www.graphics.averydennison.com.
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