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The Best Sanding Grits for Bodywork and Painting a Car

Restoring the bodywork on a car before painting it requires a lot of sanding. Using the correct sandpaper grit for each step of the process will ensure the best results. Grits are numbered — the lower the grit number, the coarser the sandpaper; the higher the number, the finer it is.

Here are the different grits commonly used in the vehicle bodywork and painting and what they’re best for:

36-40 grit

This very coarse grit leaves scratches. Use it only when sanding and grinding down paint heavily rusted areas or body filler or waterproof fiberglass such as the GLEAM GLM-210 Gold Short Hair Fiberglass.

80 grit

This grit is commonly used when doing significant bodywork to reshape body filler. 80 grit sandpaper will remove uneven filler areas quickly, preparing the surface for finer sanding.

120-180 grit

Use this grit to flatten scratches and feather the edges of body filler. 120-180 is often used with a dual action sander after applying polyester putty. The sander cuts the time required to sand down a vehicle surface.

320-400 grit  

This grit is ideal for pre-primer sanding or rough primer sanding. 320-400 grit also works for block-sanding putty and on final body filler.

600-800 grit

This grit range is perfect for sanding imperfections in primer such as the GLM-2000 2K Urethane High Build Primer before painting.

1000-1200 grit

Wet sanding with this grit helps remove imperfections in the basecoat.

1500-2000 grit

Wet sand using this grit to smooth surface imperfections and scratches before and after applying the clearcoat such as the GLM-4500 High Gloss Clearcoat 2:1.

If you use the right grit sandpaper in every step of the vehicle painting process, it’ll ensure you get top-quality professional results.