How To Sand Your Car For Paint: Wet and Dry Sanding Grit Using DA/By Hand || Autobody Q&A

Whether you’re prepping a car for a repaint or just removing some light scratches, sanding your car is an essential part of the process. In this post, you’ll know what’s the best way to sand a car using both wet and dry sanding methods. We’ll also answer some common questions about autobody work so you can get started on your project with confidence.

Question: 1950s enamel repaint…. Want to scuff and all over. The paint is very solid. What grit and sealer to use?

It’s up to you how much time and effort you want to put into it. But you could repaint over your 1950s paint job just by sanding it down, provided it has a pretty good foundation.

If it’s flaking and chipping all over the place and not looking good, I would recommend just taking it all down to the bare metal. But if so, you don’t need to go down to the bare metal. I would scuff it if you want to put a filler primer on top of that, you can. If you want to spray a single stage right over it, you can without even priming it. Depending on the condition of your single stage. 

However, if you want to prime over it, you can get it feathered out all down with like 150 grit, anywhere from 150 to 180 grit. You could just sand it all down, get it feathered out smooth then ready to go. You could put two coats of 2k filler primer, and then you can block that out 400 grit and you’re good to go.

When you’re on that stage before you do any blocking you see any imperfections, little paint chips, rock chips, or anything that you want to take care of, that’s the time that you want to get your glazed putty.

….You can get a 1k glaze putty or a 2k glaze putty. (Actually, we have videos of that coming out very soon that we did on the BMW project.) And then you basically block those out, put another light coat of primer on it, block it and you’re ready for paint. You could dry sand or you can wet sand. 

I’m old school, I like to finish wet sanding because it’s less dusty, you get a cleaner cut, less caking on your sandpapers and as you’re sanding, you can see the paint you know you can see the water the wetness glisten off of the body panels. And basically, that’s what it’s going to look like when you put your clear coat on or your single stage. So you’re fine with that. If you’re a VIP member, we have all those videos in VIP.

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Question: Wet sanding vs.Dry sanding. I’ve heard that wet sanding makes the paper finer, so wet sanding a p600 would result in a p400 finish?

No, wet sanding doesn’t make it finer. It makes your paper last a little bit longer and it reduces caking. I like to wet sand with 400 grit because over time as you’re sanding, it’s going to turn into 500 and 600 grit. And that’s fine as long as you’re in the 400 to 600 grit range. When prepping before paint, your final sand marks, or final sand scratches, you’re good to go. 

But my go-to paper is always 400 grit before painting. That’s like the perfect scratch mark in your primer, paint, clear coat, or your single stage to accept a new coat of primer or paint.

Question: Is it true that using a DA sander causes “waves” that will show? Final wet sanding with a block is preferred correct?

I like to finish block sanding everything that I do unless it’s a faster quicker paint job, like the van project we’re going to be doing. I don’t think I’m going to be doing anything by hand on the final steps with that because we’re also going to be spraying a single stage.

The single stage is more forgiving. You don’t need to have a 400 grit final prepped up a panel to spray over, you could even finish with like a 360 because a single stage is a thicker paint, it’ll fill and it’ll cover. And as long as you’re spraying that on wet with a good flow out, it’s gonna look good. 

When I spray single stage people are like people think it’s a base coat clear coat paint job because I just lay it on really well, and again, lighting is key. And if you guys are concerned about lighting don’t forget to get yourself a GUNBUDD Ultra Lighting System. This thing literally will light up all of the panel right in front of your gun. You get no shadows and it’s just essential. I use the GUNBUDD on every single paint job.

For more helpful links:

SANDING and BUFFING – How Long Should I Leave Clear Before Buff?? AutoBody Q&A

Kandy Paint Tips And Sanding for Clearcoat

The Three (3) Ways to SAND: Wet Sanding VS Dry Sanding Plastic Parts – The Pros and Cons!

Mixing Ratio, Sanding, and Buffing Ideas: Auto Body Q&A 👍

Tips on Sanding, Compounding, and Polishing Automotive Paint: Autobody Q&A

1 thought on “How To Sand Your Car For Paint: Wet and Dry Sanding Grit Using DA/By Hand || Autobody Q&A”

  1. Have any of your Atom Sorayguns pitted on thevchrome handle? Ive used mine 4 times and Its pitting and oxidizing. I like the gun otherwise. Ive never had a gun do this in 34 years.
    It sprays great.


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