How To Sand A Car

How To Sand A Car Properly – A Quick Guide

Before you decide to repaint your car a different color, there are a few very important pieces of the process that you need to make sure that you get right. The first obviously, is making sure that you get the right color and type of paint for your car so that you don’t have any expensive messes that you have to go back over, and fix later.

The first and one of the most important pieces of the process is sanding off the old paint from your car. If you have sanded your car poorly, you are definitely going to notice the blemishes and the mistakes that you made after you put on the new coat of paint. That’s when painting and repainting your car can get really expensive.

So what is the best way to prevent having to re-sand and repaint your car? Do it right the first time. Today, we are going to walk you through absolutely everything that you are going to need and need to know to be able to effectively sand your car, the right way.

What You Will Need to Sand Your Car

So before you get started with anything, you are going to need the right set of tools and sanding materials to get your car sanded down and primed for painting. The first thing that you are going to need to decide is the grit of sandpaper that you are going to need to sand your car. Primarily, that is going to be based on how low you are going to want to sand your car.

1) Getting the Right Sandpaper

If you are going to sand down all of the paint and all of the coat of primer so that only the metal of the car is left, you are going to need some heavier sand paper. For a total sanding down to the metal, we would highly recommend that you use a high grit, 80 sandpaper to do this the fastest and most effectively. You should also keep in mind that these lower grit number sandpapers can cause scratches, that you may need to buffer out with higher grit sandpapers like a 150 to 300. In some cases, you may have to get anywhere between an 800 and 1000 to finetune scratches and get them out of your car.

2) Use a Sanding Block

The next thing that you are going to need is a good sanding block to sand down your car. A good sanding block is about 12 inches long and one side of the block is covered with sand paper. If you have never used a sanding block before, no worries. It is really simple to use and we are going to walk you through exactly how to use it.

  • Use both hands to hold the sanding block
  • Slowly sand all of the flat surfaces of your vehicle
  • Use consistent and deliberate presses and strokes that are even in pressure, so that you don’t excessively sand some parts and under-sand others

That’s really all that you need to do. By sanding the car with the sanding block, you will be able to find any raised or sunken points on the car’s paint, which will help you repaint the car properly after you even them out.

3) Use Wet Sand To Get The Best Result

So that you can make sure that you get the best possible sand on your vehicle, you want to make sure that you wet sand your vehicle before you paint it. Many experts recommend that even after you paint your vehicle, that you should wet sand it again with a fine grit sandpaper (in the 1,000 to 2,000 grit range) to get the absolute best results. The main thing that you have to do is make sure that the sandpaper is wet for the entire process, and make sure that you wet it regularly. The paper can cause issues with the paint, if the paper dries.

The main advantage that wet sanding has in the sanding process is that it will allow you to sand your vehicle lightly without pushing around the paint or spare debris back into the metal of the car. Wet sanding is ideal for removing any kind of blemishes in the top level of the clear coat, which will make for a smoother paint finish. When you are finished wet sanding, the top layer of the car can appear to lack luster, but that is nothing that a good buffer can’t fix up.

How to Sand Your Car

  • Use a sand block and the correct sandpaper to remove the paint from your vehicle
  • Make sure that you select your sandpaper grit according to how deep and thorough you want to sand your car
  • Use an even and consistent brush method to sand the paint off of your car, to prevent blemishes and creating uneven sanding
  • Use a higher grit sandpaper to touch up any of the spots that need to be gone over again
  • Wet sand your vehicle before you make sure that you are totally ready to paint


There you have it! Now you have the perfect way to sand down your own car and get it ready for painting. Did you enjoy this article? If you did, feel free to share this with a friend.

Have any questions or comments? Feel free to post them below in the comments section.

About the Author Darrell Webster

I believe there is a handyman in all of us as long as you have the right tools. I started this blog to help anyone who is interested in fixing things to learn their way around the different tools and to know how to perform different DIY tasks. I have been doing this for years and believe I am a master of this art.

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