How To Sand a Car For Painting

A car’s repainting process requires someone to sand the surface extensively. If you are also in that situation, where you need to repaint your exterior soon, then learn how to sand a car and do your best to make it look like new.

If you do this, you can quickly get rid of debris, old skins, and rough texture from the truck exterior. Additionally, it will help the surface to be clean and smooth, ready for priming and painting.

As for sanding a truck is still a mystery for most folks due to lack of information; I dig into this topic and find two effective ways to sand for an accurate result. 

So, take a sip of coffee and read the instructions to know the process.

How To Sand a Car

Find Out How to Sand a Car – Easy Steps to Follow

Car sanding is a pretty simple job that needs tools to get the job done. And, you are able to do that in 2 ways by using hand-sand or the electric sander. Both techniques are suitable for the smooth texture of the car. Now, let’s get into these.

#1. Smoothen Out the Car Using Your Hand

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Using sand blocks and sandpaper is a great way to make the car level. This method might take time but is still worth it due to its perfect sanding. So, gather all the tools and follow the instructions.


  1. 80-grit, 120-grit, and 220-grit Sandpaper
  2. 380-grit Sandpaper
  3. Sand Block
  4. Glass & Mask


Wear the glass and a mask. Attach the 80-grit car sandpaper and block. Then, start to smoothen out your car’s old paint and primer using them. You can also use water to make it into wet sanding. 


Make sure to sand in parts to ensure the work is being done ideally. And use less pressure when sanding. And, it might take 20-30 minutes to smooth out the surface. 


It’s time to use the 120-grit sandpaper, just like the 80-grit one. Now, move it in a horizontal motion and ensure to maintain the angle, which looks more like the letter ‘X’ to ensure successful sanding. Plus, ensure to use the long corners of the block with sandpaper. 


Next, insert the 220-grit sandpaper into the sand block and apply some water to the car. You have to put even less pressure to remove the primer layer on the surface this time. Move the block in slow motion but smoothly to ensure a level texture. 


Attach the 380-grit sandpaper and sand down the entire car. Avoid sanding on the corner sides of the car surface. And, that’s it. Try to use a sand block around 11” – 14” in height.

#2. Sanding A Car With An Electric Sander

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Gather the electric sander with some vital tools to do the following directions. Let’s start sanding the car.  


  1. Electric Sander/DA sander
  2. 12 to 80-grit Sandpapers (for shaping or stripping)
  3. 100 to 280-grit Sandpapers (for leveling surface)
  4. 280 to 360-grit Sandpapers (for smoothing rough surfaces)
  5. Safety Mask
  6. Protective Glasses


  • Wear a glass and mask before doing any step. Wipe the visible dirt from the car’s surface. Use a cleaning sponge and liquid solution to take out the dirt if possible. It will help sand the surface well.
  • In this step, you have to fill out the dents in order to smoothen out the surface without increasing the dimples. 
  • Next, take different sandpapers. And then, sand the car one by one using them. Use the 12-80 grit sandpaper on the da sander to strip the surface. Use the sander for a while so that the paint gets removed completely.  
  • Then, attach the 100-280 grit sandpaper to level the car. Be sure to stroke in a gentle manner. 
  • After that, insert the 280-360 grit sandpaper and smoothen out the surface. 
  • Wipe out the sand dust using a clean cloth. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take to sand a car?

It will take over 2 hours for anyone to sand the car entirely if using hand sanding. Otherwise, it will take 1 or 1.5 hours. Although it as a viewer seems too long to do when trying, it is not that bad.

Is wet sanding better than dry?

Most experts suggest wet sanding as it includes extra water to work as a liquid grease that ensures no hassle of abrasive or crack. On the other side, the dry sanding will leave roughness that sometimes causes flaws. So, it is better to try wet sanding, especially on the metal surface. 

How much does it cost to sand a car?

The overall cost for sanding a car will be around $45 to $50 per hour (not including tax and other stuff). And, the expense will rise if you count the tax, material, and additional costs. It will cost up to $1000-$3000 if including the paintwork.

Wrapping Up

Now, that’s pretty much all which you need to know. I hope you are not asking how to sand a car anymore. You can do the process with focus and energy as the tasks are not challenging. 

The given methods will save hundreds of bucks from spending in one auto shop to another in order to sand the car. I have tried my best to make this guide easy for drivers to understand, so be sure to read all the directions and then try the two ways by yourself. 

Whenever you sand wood, especially hardwood, keep your hands away from your face. Getting dust in your mouth, nose, or eyes can cause irritation. So make sure you are covering your hand with gloves and, of course, wear a mask to avoid the sprinkles of dust during the sanding process. Keep Up the Good Work!  

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