How To Choose The Right Abrasive For Auto Body Repair

westside - choosing the right abrasive

Repainting a car or even fixing up a scratch or scrape is a complex task. If you want to avoid frustrating mistakes, ensure quality control, and reduce costly redos, you need to make sure you choose the right abrasive for auto body repair from the start.

Things to Consider When Choosing Your Abrasive

In order to get the right sandpaper that will produce high-quality results for the paint job at hand, you’ll need to take some things into consideration, which included:

  • Grit
  • Size and shape of the sandpaper
  • Means of attachment

1. Grit

You need to make sure you get sandpaper with the right grit. Grit numbers have a huge range, starting at around 20 and going into the high thousands. The lower the number, the coarser the sandpaper. 

When it comes to selecting a grit for your paint job, the best rule of thumb is to use one that is not intensely harsh, but one that will still allow you to remove the bottom layer of paint. So, it’s a fine line because if you use one that is too harsh, you run the risk of causing deep scratches, which means you’ll have more work on your hands. But, using one that is too soft won’t get the job done. In general, you want to avoid anything below 60 as that can lead to even more scratches. 

If you need to work on a pretty deep scratch or remove rust, you’ll want to opt for 60-80 grit grades, which are considered pretty coarse.  If the scratches are more on the light side, you can try a 120 grade grit. 

Medium grit, 400-600, does an effective job at smoothing the vehicle surface before a base coat is applied. It’s strong, but fine enough to smooth away rough areas without scratching up the metal. For fixing tiny scratches, try 600 grade grit. 

If you need to sand a car’s final finish primer so you can apply the primer sealer, try an 800 grade grit. 

2. Size and shape of the sandpaper

The best sizes and shapes for automotive sandpaper are:

  • 9” x 11” Rectangular
  • 2-3/4” Long stirps
  • 6” Diameter round disks

3. Means of attachment

The three most common means of attachment are:

  • Dry backed – Can be used for all grits
  • PSA paper (pressure sensitive adhesive) backed – Includes a peel-off backing
  • Hook and loop backed – Only for round disks and coarser grade grits

Choosing a Quality Abrasive

Two national brands that offer high-quality abrasives are 3M Automotive and Norton. 3M is one of the industry’s most relied upon brands for abrasives. And, Norton has been revolutionizing the automotive painting process for decades.

Westside Auto Paint & Supply Has High-Quality Abrasives in Stock!

Westside Auto Paint & Supply stocks national brands preferred by collision specialists, including both Norton and 3M. 

We are a family-owned business, and we have been working with body shops in the Cleveland area assisting them with their automotive painting needs for nearly 30 years.

If you are in need of a high-quality abrasive, stop by or give one of our three stores a call today:

  • Fairview Park: (440) 335-5240
  • Akron: (330) 227-2572
  • Elyria: (440) 307-1993

Most orders are delivered in 24-48 hours. And, if we don’t have an item in stock, fear not! Our turnaround times are unbeatable in the area.

We look forward to handling your abrasive needs!