How To Choose Sandpaper for Auto Body Work - Eagle National Supply
How To Choose Sandpaper for Auto Body Work

When it comes to making the most of your auto body work, having the right tools at your disposal is vital. Auto body sandpaper is a specialized abrasive material used to prepare the surfaces of vehicles for paint or other finishes. Knowing what type of paper is best suited for your application can help you achieve a perfect finish and save time and money in the long run. We’ve compiled a detailed guide to help you learn more about how to choose the right sandpaper for auto body work. Here’s what you need to know.

The Importance of Using the Right Sandpaper

Using the right sandpaper for automotive work is essential to achieving a professional-looking finish. The correct type of paper will help you smooth out scratches and other imperfections, as well as prepare the surface for an even paint application. Different types of sandpaper work better on varying surfaces, so choosing the right one is crucial to getting the job done right. Additionally, using the wrong type of paper can cause more damage to your car’s body and cost you more time and money.

What To Look for in Quality Automotive Sandpaper

If you’re going to select the perfect product for your automotive project, it’s crucial that you have a basic checklist of things to look for. Automotive sandpaper comes in a diverse range of types and specifications. As such, having something to refer to in your search can improve your chances of success. Below are some top considerations.

Abrasive Type

Make sure you choose the right abrasive material for your application. The type of abrasive material you choose is important because it will determine the level of finish you can achieve. Different abrasives have different levels of durability, resistance to clogging, and sharpness. Additionally, some types are better suited for wet sanding than others.

Grit Size

The grit size of your sandpaper is also important to consider, as it will determine how coarse or fine of a finish you can achieve. Coarser grits help remove rust, paint, and other surface contaminants while finer grits smooth surfaces, blend edges or primer, and prepare the area for painting. Matching the grit of the paper with your job will ensure you get the results you desire.


Look for sandpaper designed to be durable and resistant to clogging so that you don't have to replace the paper as often. Different abrasives have varying amounts of durability, so it's important to select the one that is best suited for your application.


When shopping for quality automotive sandpaper, it is important to consider the cost of the product as well. Generally, higher-priced sandpapers produce a finer finish and last longer than lower-priced alternatives. It can be tempting to go for the cheapest option, but this could cost you more money, as you may have to replace the sandpaper more often.


Availability is also an important factor to consider when selecting automotive sandpaper for your project. Depending on the type of product you require, you may have trouble finding what you need in certain areas. If the sandpaper you need isn't available locally, you may have to wait for shipping or order online, which can increase costs and delay project completion.

The Different Sandpaper Grades

Now that you know what to look for, let’s break down some of the most popular automotive sandpaper grades. The most common grades of automotive sandpaper range from coarse (P60 and P80) to fine (P2000 and P3000). Coarser grits are typically used for removing rust, paint, and other surface contaminants. Finer grits help smooth out surfaces, blend edges or primer, and prepare the area for painting.

When selecting sandpaper, it is important to match the grit of the paper with the job you need to do. For example, if you are removing rust, a P60 or P80 grit would work best; to prepare a surface for painting, a finer grade such as P2000 or P3000 would be better. It's also important to note that you should always use a finer grit when sanding metal than you would for sanding plastic or wood.

Automotive Sandpaper Material Types

There are also several different types of sandpaper materials that you need to know about in order to make the best choice. These are some of the most common options available.

Aluminum Oxide

Aluminum oxide is the most common option used for body work because it’s durable and resistant to clogging. The main advantage of using aluminum oxide paper is that it’s long-lasting, so you don't have to replace the sandpaper as often. It’s also ideal for use on surfaces like metal or plastic that may contain contaminants. Additionally, aluminum oxide sandpaper performs while wet or dry, so it is suitable for a variety of applications. However, these products can be more expensive than others.

Silicon Carbide

Silicon carbide is a synthetic material that produces an even finer finish than aluminum oxide while also being more heat resistant. This paper works well on a variety of surfaces and can even perform on hot surfaces, such as engines and exhaust systems. The main disadvantage of using silicon carbide paper is that it can be more expensive than other types of sandpaper, and it may not last as long. Additionally, because it's a synthetic material, silicon carbide paper tends to break down faster than natural abrasives.


Garnet is a natural mineral that creates an ultra-fine finish and is best suited for wet sanding. Garnet paper tends to be more durable than synthetic materials and lasts longer. It’s important to note that these products can also fetch a hefty price. Additionally, because it is a natural mineral, garnet paper can be more difficult to find in some areas.

Choosing Sandpaper for Your Work

As you’ve read, selecting the right sandpaper for your auto body work involves taking a lot of different considerations into account. But by taking the time to assess your needs and compare them to the available products, you can find something that works with your application and budget. Make sure you plan out the stages of your body repair and always refer to your personal finances so that you don’t overspend on these products.

At Eagle National, we understand that auto body work can be tedious and specific depending on the car type and your specific needs. For this reason, we strive to provide a diverse collection of automotive sandpaper. Shopping around doesn’t need to be a part of this project; as such, we make it possible to find everything you need in one place.

How To Choose Sandpaper for Auto Body Work

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