Text Example

Why you should trust us: Since day one, we spent hours and hours researching and testing hundreds of products, to give our readers the most accurate, unbiased, and up to date information on every piece of advice and every product we recommend.

Text Example

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. This post may have affiliate links, which means I may receive commissions if you choose to purchase through links I provide (at no extra cost to you). Learn more

The Perfect Grit Sandpaper for Primer Before Painting a Car

The Perfect Grit Sandpaper for Primer Before Painting a Car

When it comes to painting a car, proper surface preparation is key to achieving a smooth, long-lasting finish.

Sanding the primer is an essential step in this process, as it helps to create a clean and receptive surface for the paint.

However, choosing the right grit sandpaper for this task can be confusing.

In this article, we will discuss the ideal grit sandpaper for priming a car before painting, providing you with valuable insights to achieve professional results.

Understanding the Importance of Sanding the Primer

To comprehend why sanding the primer is crucial, it’s essential to understand its purpose.

The primer serves as a foundation for the paint, providing adhesion, protection, and a smooth surface.

By sanding the primer, you remove imperfections such as dust particles, drips, and orange peel textures, ensuring a flawless base for the paint.

Grit Options for Sanding the Primer

There are various grit options available for sanding the primer, each serving a specific purpose. The two primary types are:

Coarse Grit Sandpaper

Coarse grit sandpaper, typically ranging from 80 to 180 grit, is used to remove major imperfections, such as rough textures, runs, and heavy orange peel. It effectively levels the surface but leaves noticeable scratches. Coarse grit sandpaper is suitable for initial sanding or when dealing with substantial primer build-up.

Fine Grit Sandpaper

Fine grit sandpaper, ranging from 220 to 400 grit, is used to smooth the surface and remove scratches left by the coarse grit sandpaper. It is also effective in preparing the primer for paint adhesion, as it creates a microscopically rough surface for the paint to grip onto. Fine grit sandpaper is ideal for the final sanding before applying paint.

Selecting the Appropriate Grit Sandpaper

Choosing the right grit sandpaper depends on the condition of the primer, the desired finish, and personal preference. Consider the following factors when selecting the appropriate grit:

Primer Condition

If the primer has a relatively smooth surface with minor imperfections, start with fine grit sandpaper (around 220 grit). However, if the primer is rough, has visible imperfections, or you need to level out significant buildup, begin with coarse grit sandpaper (around 80 to 120 grit) to address these issues.

Desired Finish

For a show-quality finish, it’s essential to gradually move from coarser to finer grit sandpaper. Start with a coarse grit to remove imperfections and gradually progress to a finer grit for a smoother finish. This process allows for better paint adhesion and reduces the visibility of sanding marks.

Personal Preference

Based on personal experience and technique, some painters may prefer specific grits over others. Experimenting with different grits on scrap materials can help determine which grit provides the desired results and finish.

Sanding Techniques and Best Practices

Regardless of the grit you choose, proper sanding techniques and best practices are crucial for optimal results:

Use a Sanding Block: Utilize a sanding block or a sanding tool to ensure an even and consistent sanding surface. This helps to prevent uneven sanding and minimizes the risk of creating low spots or uneven texture.

Sand in a Crosshatch Pattern: Sand in a crosshatch pattern rather than sanding in a single direction. This technique helps to achieve a more uniform and blended surface while minimizing the risk of visible sanding marks.

Check Your Progress: Regularly inspect the sanded surface under proper lighting to ensure all imperfections have been addressed. If any remain, continue sanding until the surface is smooth and free of defects.

Clean the Surface: After sanding, thoroughly clean the surface to remove any sanding residue, dust, or debris. A clean surface is essential for proper paint adhesion and a flawless finish.

Best Products for Sanding the Primer Before Painting Your Car

Coarse Grit Sandpaper

Dura-Gold Premium Sandpaper, 80 Grit: This pack includes 25 sheets of sandpaper with a grit size of 80. Dura-Gold sandpaper is made with high-quality aluminum oxide abrasive, which offers excellent durability and cutting performance. It is designed for heavy-duty sanding applications and effectively removes rough textures, imperfections, and orange peel on the surface. The sheets are sized at 9″ x 11″ and are compatible with both hand sanding and sanding blocks.

Dura-Gold Premium Sandpaper, 120 Grit: Dura-Gold Premium Sandpaper in 120 grit is a high-quality option for sanding tasks. It consists of 24 sheets, each measuring 9″ x 11″. The sandpaper features durable aluminum oxide abrasive particles that provide consistent cutting performance. It is suitable for dry and wet sanding applications, making it versatile. The backing material is flexible and tear-resistant. This sandpaper effectively removes light to moderate imperfections, prepares surfaces for painting, and is compatible with dust collection systems. Overall, it offers reliable performance and durability for various projects.

Fine Grit Sandpaper

3M Wetordry Sandpaper, 32043, 220 Grit, is a reliable option for sanding tasks. The pack includes 5 sheets of sandpaper, each measuring 9″ x 11″. The sandpaper features a 220 grit size, making it suitable for smoothing surfaces and preparing them for paint adhesion. It can be used for both wet and dry sanding applications, providing versatility. The Wetordry design allows for efficient water-resistant sanding and reduces clogging. With its high-quality construction, this sandpaper offers durability and consistent performance. It is commonly used in automotive refinishing, woodworking, metalworking, and other DIY or professional projects.

Dura-Gold Premium Sandpaper in 400 grit is designed for fine sanding and achieving a smooth finish. It comes in packs of 50 sheets, measuring 9″ x 11″ each. The sandpaper features aluminum oxide abrasive particles for consistent cutting performance. It can be used for dry or wet sanding and is compatible with various surfaces. Dura-Gold sandpaper offers durability and efficient material removal while maintaining a uniform surface. It also works well with dust collection systems, keeping your work area cleaner.

Sanding Block

3M Rubber Sanding Block: This ergonomic sanding block provides a comfortable grip and ensures even sanding across the surface.

Sanding Tool

Dura-Block AF4404 Black Sanding Block: This sanding tool features a firm yet flexible construction, allowing for precise sanding on various contours and surfaces.

Sanding Machine (Helpful but Not Necessary)

Using a sanding machine can make the sanding process more efficient and easier. Here are some highly recommended sanding machines available on Amazon:

DEWALT Random Orbit Sander Model: DWE6423K

Why it’s great: This sander features a 3.0 Amp motor and a variable speed control dial, allowing you to adjust the sanding speed according to your needs. Its random orbit action ensures a smooth finish and minimizes swirl marks. The ergonomic design, comfortable grip, and effective dust collection system make it a popular choice among DIYers and professionals.

Makita 5-Inch Random Orbit Sander Model: BO5041K

Why it’s great: This sander from Makita boasts a powerful 3.0 Amp motor with variable speed control, providing excellent control and versatility. Its large 1/8-inch random orbit action ensures fast material removal and a smooth finish. The efficient dust collection system keeps your work area clean, and the ergonomic design enhances user comfort.

Bosch ROS20VSC Random Orbit Sander

Why it’s great: The Bosch ROS20VSC features a 2.5 Amp motor and a variable speed control that allows you to match the speed to the application. It has a compact design for easy maneuverability and a pad dampening system for swirl-free finishes. The microfilter dust canister efficiently captures fine dust particles, keeping your workspace clean.

BLACK+DECKER Random Orbit Sander Model: BDERO100

Why it’s great: This budget-friendly option from BLACK+DECKER is ideal for light to medium sanding tasks. It features a 2.0 Amp motor and a random orbit action for smooth sanding performance. The compact size, comfortable grip, and easy-to-use design make it suitable for beginners and occasional DIY projects.

Remember to consider factors such as power, speed control, ergonomics, and dust collection when choosing a sanding machine. Additionally, reading customer reviews and ratings will provide further insights into the performance and durability of the sanders.



Selecting the appropriate grit sandpaper for sanding the primer before painting your car plays a vital role in achieving a professional-looking finish.

By considering the condition of the primer, desired finish, and personal preference, you can make an informed decision about the grit to use.

Additionally, adhering to proper sanding techniques and best practices will help you achieve outstanding results.

Remember, patience and attention to detail are key when it comes to achieving a flawless paint job on your car.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *