How to Sand a Truck for Painting

by Jenny Carver

Sanding a truck to prepare it for paint is an important step in the painting process. Paint won't stick well to a vehicle if it hasn't been sanded first. Sanding is even more important when any body repair work is involved. Many paint jobs are of poor quality or become ruined because of poor sanding techniques.

Step 1

Look the truck over carefully for any dents or dings. Grind the paint away with the grinder in and around the dent until only bare metal is showing. The Bondo you will use to repair the dent does not stick well to paint.

Step 2

Fill the area with Bondo, smooth it flat with a plastic squeegee while it is wet and the allow it to dry. Sand the Bondo with 36-grit sandpaper, and apply body filler to the Bondo area. Allow the filler to dry.

Step 3

Sand the filler with 80-grit sandpaper on a sanding block until the area is as smooth as the surrounding metal surface.

Step 4

Sand the entire area, including the edges of paint around the damaged area, with 120-grit sandpaper and a sanding block.

Step 5

Use water, a sanding block and 200-grit sandpaper to sand the entire vehicle after the repaired areas have been sprayed with primer. Keep the sandpaper wet while sanding so no dust builds up on the paper.

Allow the truck to dry and then look for any shiny areas. The 200-grit sandpaper should have sanded away any clear coat on the truck, making the entire truck dull. Sand any areas that are not dull. The truck is now ready for paint.


  • Use the sanding block to sand smoothly. Using sandpaper with your hand alone allows dips and hard edges to appear on the surface. An electric sander, or dual-action sander, can be used when sanding the entire truck to save time. However, sanding by hand with a long block sander is best and will get smoother results.


  • Don't sand Bondo or body filler without wearing a face mask.

Items you will need

  • Sandpaper (36-, 80-, 120- and 200-grit)
  • Grinder
  • Grinding disk
  • Bondo
  • Body filler/putty
  • Plastic squeegee
  • Sanding block
  • Water

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