How to Sand & Paint Motorcycle Fairings

by Anastasia Blackwood
spray image by Dragana Petrovic from

Restoring an old motorcycle or repainting a new one can be one of the most eye-catching upgrades you can make. If you carefully select the color and use patience while you paint your motorcycle, the results can be stunning.

Step 1

Remove the fairing and clean it with the alcohol-based cleaner.

Step 2

Sand the fairing with 400-grit sandpaper, paying careful attention to the grooves. Do not sand all the way to the plastic, just through the topcoat.

Step 3

Clean the fairing with the microfiber towel, removing all the residual dust from sanding.

Step 4

Hang the fairing so that its entire surface is easily accessible when you apply primer. Check the directions on the primer to see how far away you should hold the can from the fairing. If you hold it too far away it will not coat the surface, and if it is too close the primer will buildup and run.

Step 5

Spray the primer over the entire fairing in sweeping motions. The primer may require multiple coats for full coverage. If so, allow it to dry fully before applying another coat. Once it is covered thoroughly, allow it to dry for the time recommended on the can.

Step 6

Buff the primer down gently with 800-grit sandpaper until it feels smooth. Use the microfiber towel to clean off residual dust.

Step 7

Spray the lacquer over the entire fairing. Use sweeping motions and apply light coats, allowing it to dry fully between coats. It may require two or three coats. Allow it to dry for the time recommended on the can.

Step 8

Spray the topcoat over the entire fairing, using sweeping motions. The topcoat may require two or three coats. Allow it to dry according to the directions on the can. The topcoat is the most important coat since it is on the outside and is most visible; resist the urge to touch it until you are sure it is dry.

Apply wax and buff the fairing after your paint job is completed. This will give your paint a glossy finish.


  • If you selected a dark lacquer color, it is easiest to use a dark gray primer to avoid the need for extra coats. If you selected a light lacquer color, using white primer is most effective.
  • If the paint runs you can wait until it is dry and sand it before applying another coat.


  • Practice your painting technique before you start to paint your fairing.
  • Always paint in a well-ventilated area.
  • Do not paint near open flames or sparks!

Items you will need

  • Alcohol-based cleaner
  • 400- and 800-grit sandpaper
  • Microfiber towel
  • Spray primer
  • Spray lacquer in color of choice
  • Spray paint topcoat
  • Wax

More Articles