Self Healing Vinyl Wraps to Remove Scratches and Imperfections

Self Healing Vinyl Wrap

There are a number of self healing vinyl wraps on the market these days. Amongst this list is the 3M 1080 wraps. We got our hands on some and decided to play around with it to see just how effective it really is!

We got our first glimpse of the self healing wraps in action while we were at SEMA in 2013. One of the attendees dug his nails into our demo car hood with a matte black vinyl wrap! Ridiculous if you ask me, and needless to say we were a little upset that our demo got these marks and scratches in them. When this installer stopped by our booth to chat with us, he noticed the hood. He chuckled and grabbed a heat gun from his booth and showed us the magic right in front of our eyes.

We were pretty astonished by what these wraps can do nowadays that we decided to do a little research and testing ourselves.  So we grabbed one of our mini demo car hoods with matte black vinyl on it and a heat gun to do a test for you. Check out the video yourself to see how it works.

Because vinyl wraps are nothing more than just a film on the surface of the car, they’re pretty susceptible to getting little nicks and scratches (even if it doesn’t break the vinyl). Some common ways that these scratches occur are when bags and clothes brush against the surface, shopping carts and car doors hitting it, and leaning or setting things on the car itself.

How it Works…

With these wraps you’ll only need a few tools: a heat gun, a matte safe detail spray (like Matte Final Finish), and a microfiber towel.

After our testing we’ve noticed the best way to do this is to clean the surface by washing the vehicle first. After that, hold the heat gun about 6-8 inches away from the surface and pan the gun across the surface in long linear strokes. Continue to go over the surface imperfections for roughly a minute. Once you’ve let the surface cool a bit, use the matte detail spray and a microfiber towel to clean the surface. While wiping down the surface with a microfiber towel, pay special attention to the scratches and apply a little extra pressure (doesn’t need much). This will fine tune the imperfections and even out the surface even more.

This works because the heat allows the vinyl to relax and even itself out. Much like how using a heat gun to shrink the vinyl when first applying it, the vinyl will adhere closer to the surface when heat is applied again.

Because heat is the magic ingredient, even leaving the car/motorcycle outside on a hot day will have the same effects.

Things to Think About…

These wraps are extremely durable to the heat so you’re unlikely to damage the wrap because of the heat gun.  That being said, you still don’t want to leave the heat gun focused on one spot on the wrap either. You simply want to heat the wrap; getting it to 500 degrees isn’t going to do any more than getting it to 200 degrees.

If you don’t have a heat gun, you can get one at Home Depot, Amazon, or even Office Depot.

If you opt out of the heat gun you have two options. You can use a hair dryer on high heat the same way (may take longer). Or you can actually leave the vehicle outside.  However, with this option, UV rays can cause matte finishes to fade. That’s why it’s important to make sure that your matte surface is protected with a proper matte finish sealant. This will protect from staining, etching, and fading.

In regards to using the heat gun or hair dryer on the surface that has a sealant, we’d recommend reapplying the sealant after this process.

When wiping down the surface with your microfiber towel, especially when adding extra pressure, you’ll want to make sure that you’re using a clean microfiber towel. If it’s dirty you risk putting scratches in the vinyl because of the debris in the towel.


Thanks for reading (and/or watching), if you have any thoughts or comments, please feel free to leave us a comment! You can also reach us on social media @drbeasleys.