In this paper, thermal cycling reliability along with ANSYS analysis of the residual stress generated in heavy-gauge Al bond wires at different bonding temperatures is reported. 99.999% pure Al wires of 375 mum in diameter, were ultrasonically bonded to silicon dies coated with a 5mum thick Al metallisation at 25degC (room temperature), 100degC and 200degC, respectively (with the same bonding parameters). The wire bonded samples were then subjected to thermal cycling in air from -60degC to +150degC. The degradation rate of the wire bonds was assessed by means of bond shear test and via microstructural characterisation. Prior to thermal cycling, the shear strength of all of the wire bonds was approximately equal to the shear strength of pure aluminum and independent of bonding temperature. During thermal cycling, however, the shear strength of room temperature bonded samples was observed to decrease more rapidly (as compared to bonds formed at 100degC and 200degC) as a result of a high crack propagation rate across the bonding area. In addition, modification of the grain structure at the bonding interface was also observed with bonding temperature, leading to changes in the mechanical properties of the wire. The heat and pressure induced by the high temperature bonding is believed to promote grain recovery and recrystallisation, softening the wires through removal of the dislocations and plastic strain energy. Coarse grains formed at the bonding interface after bonding at elevated temperatures may also contribute to greater resistance for crack propagation, thus lowering the wire bond degradation rate.