Knowledge Builders

what kind of sandpaper do i use to sand down a car

by Rowland Windler Published 2 years ago Updated 1 year ago

If you do need to sand your car, use a power sander. Go over your car once with 180-grit sandpaper, then again with 300-grit sandpaper. Finally, wet sand your car with 1200-2000 grit sandpaper for a smooth finish.

Dry sand using 180-grit sandpaper to remove rust or surface damage before moving on to a 320-grit paper to remove your previous 180-grit scratches. Whichever method that you decide, follow it up using 400- to 600-grit sandpaper to sand the paint to prep the existing paint surface for the new coatings to be applied.Feb 19, 2020

Full Answer

What can I use instead of sandpaper?

What Can I Use Instead of Sandpaper on Wood?

  • Sanding blocks: Also known as sanding sponges, they have a similar construction to a standard kitchen dish sponge but have a rough texture. ...
  • Emery cloth: Most commonly used on metal, emery cloths are far more durable than sandpaper. ...
  • Sand and leather: Start by sprinkling dry sand over the area that needs sanding. ...

More items...

What grit sandpaper do you use before painting a car?

  • Sand old paint and primer off of a car using a dual-action sander and 80-grit sandpaper.
  • Use 120-grit sandpaper to sand down any body filler used on the car's surface.
  • Cover the sanding block in 220-grit sandpaper to sand the primer coat after it has dried.

How to sand a car properly?

The Right Way to Sand a Car Properly

  • Use the right sand paper. Sand paper can either remove scratches, or make scratches. ...
  • Do not use your hands directly. Not using your hands does not mean use your feet. ...
  • Use a long sanding block. ...
  • Get the technique right. ...
  • Wet sand after painting. ...
  • Have the right gear. ...

How to pick the right sandpaper?

This guide will run you through:

  • It’s crucial to choose the proper grit of sandpaper.
  • Choosing the proper coarseness for a project
  • Considering the ideal sort of grit to pick


Can I use 180 grit paper for sanding down a car?

120 to 180 Grit – Use this grit range for flattening out scratches, feathering edges of body filler, spot putty sanding, and light rust removal.

What grit sandpaper do you use to prep a car for paint?

If you plan to strip paint from the car's bodywork, use 1,200-grit paper or sanding pads to quickly remove the clear-coat and paint. To avoid the headache of trying to match the paint you want to apply to the existing paint on the car, you'll need to remove the primer and expose the bare metal.

What kind of Sander Do I need to sand a car?

There are two primary types of sanders for cars: air sanders and hand sanders. We'll be focusing specifically on air sanders in this article. Orbital sanders are powerful air sanders that are ideal for light prep work, such as smoothing edges and sanding down old coats of paint.

What's the best way to sand a car down?

27:1630:30How to Sand your Car for Paint - YouTubeYouTubeStart of suggested clipEnd of suggested clipSimply peel off a piece and stick it right onto your block for this application i'll use some waterMoreSimply peel off a piece and stick it right onto your block for this application i'll use some water to assist in the wet sanding process we'll focus our attention on flat passes. Not at an angle.

How much do you have to sand a car before painting?

For most types of car paint, you should wait about 15 to 20 minutes between coats. If you are applying a primer, you should wait about 24 hours before applying a base coat or enamel based paint. Also, between primer and paint applications, you should wet sand the vehicle with a 1000 - 1200 grit piece of sandpaper.

Can I clear coat over 600 grit?

600 grit is aggressive enough to sand it flat without doing any damage to the clear coat. Remember, it is plastic, so too coarse of sandpaper can get very difficult to remove scratches from. Everything must be flat with 600!!

How do you sand and prep a car for paint?

0:0810:12How To Prep a Car for Paint - Sand and Fill - with Kevin Tetz at EastwoodYouTubeStart of suggested clipEnd of suggested clipExactly the same way as the rest of the parts that you just saw in the spray booth and I've got itMoreExactly the same way as the rest of the parts that you just saw in the spray booth and I've got it mounted on my super stand so I can get access to the backsides of the panels. And the jams.

Can I use a orbital sander to sand my car?

You can use an orbital sander to polish your vehicle. You need to make sure that it is a random orbital sander, and that it has variable speed settings. The power type of the random orbital sander comes down to your preference and the budget that you're working with.

How long does it take to sand a car?

Work one panel at a time for an even sanding. In total, each panel will probably take about 2 hours to sand down completely. It might sound like a long time, but it's totally worth it for a new, smooth paint job.

How do you sand a car down to bare metal?

3:3416:07What is the "BEST WAY" to Strip My Car To BARE METAL So ... - YouTubeYouTubeStart of suggested clipEnd of suggested clipWith my da sander using 80 grit and what that's doing that is cleaning all the soda off and preppingMoreWith my da sander using 80 grit and what that's doing that is cleaning all the soda off and prepping the metal up so the epoxy primer sealer will stick now you heard me use the word sealer.

Should I wet sand my car?

Wet sanding can be used when your vehicle has a dull finish. It helps remove tiny scratches and imperfections in the clear coat that aren't individually visible but can cause the original shine to lose its sparkle.

What grit should I sand before primer?

320 to 400What grit sandpaper should I use before primer? When looking to sand a surface before applying primer, the best grit sandpaper to use is 320 to 400. Both these grits can effectively remove the existing primer and help you flatten the surface.

How do you prep a car for painting?

0:124:04How To Prep Your Car for Paint with Kevin Tetz at Eastwood - YouTubeYouTubeStart of suggested clipEnd of suggested clipYou should use more than one type of cleaner. For the panels such as pre painting prep isopropylMoreYou should use more than one type of cleaner. For the panels such as pre painting prep isopropyl alcohol even a glass cleaner.

What is 5000 grit sandpaper used for?

0:153:31Proper Sanding with 3M™ Trizact™ 3000 and 5000 Grit AbrasivesYouTubeStart of suggested clipEnd of suggested clipAnd 5000 grit to really remove the 1500 grit scratches that we're putting in the defect removalMoreAnd 5000 grit to really remove the 1500 grit scratches that we're putting in the defect removal process if we shortchange the 3000 step we're still going to have 1500 grit scratches.

What is 220 grit sandpaper used for?

180 - 220 Grit: Fine. 180 – 220 grit is primarily used for the sanding finish or to sand in-between coats. It is also great for distressing! There are instances where you can use 180 to 220-grit to rough up a piece in preparation for paint, but you do not typically use these grits until after your first coat.

What is grit in sandpaper?

Sandpaper grit refers to the number of abrasive particles per square inch of a sheet of sandpaper . The lower the number, the fewer abrasives present, making it courser sandpaper. The higher the number, the more abrasives present, making sandpaper finer.

How to contact Sandpaper America?

Call Sandpaper America at 1-800-860-7263 (SAND) to purchase high-quality, in-house manufactured sandpaper sheets and various other sanding abrasives and products, today. You can also place orders online! #Sandpaper. #sanding. #abrasives.

What is the best tool to sand a car?

Use a power sander for the majority of your car. A power sander will be way easier to use than hand sanding your entire car. Use this tool on the large, flat surfaces of your vehicle, like the doors, roof, trunk, and hood.

How to sand a car panel?

Move your power sander in small, circular motions . Attach your sandpaper to the power sander and turn it on. Press it up against your car as hard as you can, and move it in small circles across the entire panel.

How to make hand sanding easier?

To make hand sanding easier, staple a piece of sandpaper to a block of wood so it’s easier to hold onto.

How to clean sand off car before painting?

Wipe your car off with a damp cloth before priming and painting. Sanding generates a lot of dust, which can get stuck in automotive paint and primer. Before you move on, use a damp cloth to wipe down the outside of your car. If you’re super worried about dust, use paint thinners to wipe down the outside of your car.

What to wear when sanding?

Wear a mask, gloves, and goggles for safety. Sanding creates a lot of fine dust particles that can irritate your lungs, eyes, and skin. Before you start sanding, put on your protective equipment and keep it on until you’re finished.

How to get a rough finish off a paint job?

Start with a 180-grit sandpaper. This will roughly take off the outermost layer of paint and primer. You might notice that it looks a little scratched and rough at this point, but that’s okay.

How long does it take to sand down a car?

In total, each panel will probably take about 2 hours to sand down completely.

What grit sandpaper should I use for basecoat?

In the end. You want to finish your final sanding when prepping for basecoat clearcoat with a 400 grit sandpaper. This is the BEST grit to paint over. Don’t listen to what others are saying all over the internet. Follow those who are doing it and getting professional results. I have been painting for over 18 years and have a lot of knowledge when it comes to auto body. John Kosmoski and I don’t agree on every method when it comes to auto body, but when it comes to final paint grits, we agree that 400 is the best grit. Why? It gives you enough paint TOOTH for your paint to grab on to. If you sand any finer, look forward to some paint peeling in a few years. 600 grit is on the fence and at the border. If you feel that you just NEED to sand finer, I would absolutely not sand any finer than a 600 grit paper. We paint pros recommend 400.

How much grit paper should I use for a DA?

Simply slap a 280 grit paper on your DA (dual action sander), and you’re off to the races. As I said, you can safely paint over a 240-280 grit paper when painting single stage. But personally, I like to get it a little smother. If I’m painting a single stage job, I get the paint prep down to at least a 320 grit finish.

What grits are used for body filler?

These sandpapers are used for the main body work process when cutting body filler (Bondo) shaping, feathering and final sanding when prepping for paint. Finer grits like 1200, 1500, 2000, and 3000 is used for finishing. A term that is called, color sanding and buffing, or cut and buff.

How to refinish clear coat?

If you see paint jobs that simply look like glass, know that the clear coat was refinished through a process called color sanding and buffing. By sanding your clear coat down flat with a very fine sandpaper, normally a 1500-2000 girt paper, it removes imperfections and cut’s out any textured area in your paint. 1200 grit can used for your initial cut. You want to be careful when sanding with 1200 because you can sand too deep if you don’t know what you’re doing and looking for. If you’re new to this use 1500 for your sanding, then move to 2000. You can even start with a 2000 if you wish and just sand your clear flat until the paint starts to look smooth and dries to a matte look.

What is grit used for?

This grit is mostly used for final finishing before laying the paint on. It’s true, a lot of your paint results will come from your prepping. If you do a good prep job and get your panels ready for paint and sanded correctly, your paint will flow on nice and will come out good.

What is single stage paint?

Single stage paints are a thicker paint than your basic base coat systems. This gives you more room for a little error because the thick paint fills imperfections. You can also paint single stage paints over coarser sand paper grits like 240, and 280 grits.

How long does a synthetic enamel paint job last?

A wham bam, thank you mam style fast paint job that is fairly inexpensive with a life expectancy of 1-3 years depending on how you care for your vehicle.

What is the best sandpaper for a car?

High-grit sandpaper is best suited for eliminating scratches and minor imperfections. Once the vehicle has received a new coat of paint, a sandpaper disc in this range can deliver a smooth finishing touch.

What is the best sandpaper for car body repair?

Low-grit sandpapers are more appropriate for auto body repair jobs that require rough surface areas to be flattened out. This can happen if the vehicle has received several successive coats of paint, resulting in an uneven, patchy surface.

What Sandpaper Material is Recommended?

Aluminum oxide is one of the most popular abrasives for good reason. During the sanding process, it fragments in a manner that retains its cutting edges and allows the sanding belt or disc to be used longer.

What grit to use for sanding?

Abrasives in the 60 to 80 grit range are good to use when there are deeper scars or rust to sand down. You can use 120 grit when there are rust spots or scratches that aren’t as severe and 220 grit to bring down rough edges from body filler. 320 grit is ideal for feather edging compounds to get the body ready for priming.

What kind of discs do you use for auto body repair?

For auto body repair, use aluminum oxide sanding discs that have been specially designed for the automotive market. The best tools typically have a fully waterproof backing with a thick hook and loop for added durability and performance quality. They offer a fast cut, deliver professional results, and have a long disc life, ensuring that you get optimal return on your investment.

What is the grit of a car body?

In general, grit numbers range from around 40 to 4000 and up. The lower the number, the coarser the sandpaper. The first rule of auto body repair is that you should start with the least aggressive sandpaper you can that will still get the job done.

What is the best coating for aluminum oxide?

Aluminum oxide has various coating options available, but closed-coat is the recommended solution because the grains cover up to 95% of the disc surface, enabling it to do a smooth and effective job on both ferrous and nonferrous metals.

Why do you sand acrylic paint?

The reason is because enamels, acrylic enamels, synthetic enamels in general are thicker and they fill the tooth of the sandpaper a lot easier. While on the other hand, with base coat and clear coat, you will have to sand a little bit more. I hear of some people sanding down to 600, 800, or 1000, some even sand paint over 1500.

Can you paint black base coat with sand?

You will not have those sand scratches. Don’t worry about it. Even if you’re painting black base coat, it should be fine. There shouldn’t be anything to worry about.

Can you wet sand a 2K primer?

I like to wet sand for final painting so if you’re sanding a 2K primer, an epoxy or even a clear-coated surface or maybe if you have a car with an already-nice-paint-job on it (say, you have a red car with a nice paint job but you’d like to put a different red hue on it or some kind of metallic, maybe)…All you have to do really is, scuff down the clear coat with 400-grit then you can lay your base coat and clear coat right on top of that.

Can you put clear coat on paint?

Once the paint is laid on all nice, you put your clear coat on it and it’s going to look beautiful! You will not have those sand scratches. Don’ t worry about it.

Do you have to put primer on clear coat?

You don’t even have to put any primer on it. You can just put the new paint right on top of the clear coat.

Do you have to sand a piece of metal before you glue it together?

That’s why when you do anything, you have to sand it before you glue it together. You’re not just gluing or sticking shiny pieces together…because then there won’t be anything for adhesion, there’s no tooth for the material to grab so you can just snap it right off.

Is 400 grit paint fine?

For some people who think that 400-grit is too coarse, I tell them to go ahead and use 600-grit. Honestly, in my opinion, I like 400-grit but 400-600 is a great range to put your base coat and clear coat over. Anything smoother and finer than that like 800, 1000, 1200,1500-grit…is NOT good because your paint is just not going to stick.

How to sand a sandpaper pad?

Wrap the sandpaper around a sanding squeegee or pad. Do not simply use your hands when wet sanding. The gaps between your fingers will create an uneven sanding surface, resulting in an inconsistent finish. Instead, wrap the sandpaper around a pad, handle or sandpaper squeegee based on your preference.

How to make a double sheet of sandpaper?

Remove the sandpaper from its package and hold it like a sheet of paper, so the longer edges are on the right and left. Use a pair of heavy duty scissors to cut the sandpaper sheet s lengthwise to double the number of sheets you have.

How to restore paint to original luster?

1. Determine if wet sanding is right for your car. Wet sanding can be an excellent way to restore your paint to its original luster, but it isn't always the best option. Deep scratches that reach the metal, for instance, often cannot be repaired through wet sanding alone.

What is the effect of wet sanding on paint?

This article has been viewed 176,759 times. Wet sanding can be used on new paint to provide an even finish and remove what is commonly referred to as the “orange peel” effect, where the paint appears to have the texture of an orange skin.

How to keep paint from burning when sanding?

Fill a bucket with water and a small amount of automotive soap. Wet sanding requires a lubricant to prevent the sandpaper from burning the paint. Fill a regular bucket with water and a small amount of automotive soap. Do not use an automotive soap that also serves as a wax or a polish.

Why wax a car?

Waxing the car will protect the paint and create a more brilliant shine.

What should the halves of a sandbox be soaked in before moving on?

The halves that are soaking in the water should be completely saturated with soapy water before moving on.


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25 hours ago  · The link describes some types of sandpaper. You could probably get away with just using 80 and 320 with a wet sand of 1500. DONT use 80!!!! you will be forever sanding out the fine scratches caused by this!!! 80 is good for industrial applications. Depending on your vehicles condition, i would start with something like 240 on a sander (if you ...

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