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Cybertruck Owners Lash Out at Tesla Over Stainless Steel Rust Problems

Via Metal Miner

The world may have come to expect near-perfection from Elon Musk and his products, resulting in the slightest problem with any of them getting amplified in the media. Nonetheless, the latest U.S. steel news has not been kind to Tesla's recently-launched and significantly delayed electric Cybertruck.

The truck started shipping last December, having seen several years of delays. Now, complaints are already trickling in about rust spots sprouting up on the truck's "ultra-hard stainless steel" body, which Tesla claims is "literally bulletproof." 

Bulletproof yet rusting - how does that pan out? In the wake of news detailing Tesla car door handles freezing in snowy weather and their batteries catching fire, this rust problem now seems like a whole new headache for the car manufacturer.

A user going by the name "Raxar" recently posted on the Cybertruck Owners Club forum of discovering orange rust marks on their truck's exterior. The community, already perturbed by other alleged design flaws, got even more upset, with several joining Raxar in reporting rust spots on their respective trucks.

Tesla's Cybertruck Owners "Fume"

Recent U.S. steel news also indicates that the sport utility vehicle reportedly retails for about $60,000, but can go up to as much as $96,000 depending on the trim. Just two months after going on sale, irritated buyers stopped posting proud images of their new cars, and instead began posting pictures of rust spots on their trucks' exteriors.

Tesla's Cybertruck does not ship with a coat of paint like we see on other cars or trucks. Instead, the owner has to choose whether to cough up an additional U.S. $6,000 for a urethane-based film to coat their truck in premium satin clear paint films. Considering the final price tag of the Cybertruck already exceed expectations, this rust problem has new owners very angry.

Does Stainless Steel Stain?

What really seems to have the goat of some buyers is that the rust spots defy Tesla's claim that it uses proprietary stainless steel to make the Cybertruck. However, U.S. steel news indicates that the overall industry consensus is that stainless steel does, indeed, stain, just not as much as the other varieties of steel.

Stainless steel comes in five fundamental categories: austenitic, ferritic, martensitic, duplex, and precipitation hardened. These variants, which include chromium along with other elements like nickel and molybdenum, exhibit varying levels of corrosion resistance. They achieve this by forming a resilient and protective layer of chromium oxide at the molecular level, effectively shielding the surface against corrosion.

However, refining steel doesn't automatically render it stainless. Discoloration or brown and orange spots can still occur when moisture or corrosive substances breach the chromium barrier. Moreover, those vehicles operating in high-temperature environments will frequently develop stains much faster than others.

To be fair, even the manual for the Tesla Cybertruck acknowledges that its steel panels are vulnerable to corrosive substances like grease, oil, tree resin, and dead insects. It even specifically advises prompt washing to prevent corrosion. Furthermore, choosing additives and shaping components with specific types of steel invariably involves cost considerations. Some say Tesla's decision regarding the Cybertruck might have been misguided due to its focus on the vehicles having a bare stainless steel instead of an overcoat of paint. 

U.S. Steel News Combing Cybertruck Forums

Numerous forum posts, notably on platforms like Cybertruck Owners Club, suggest that Cybertruck's exterior claims may not hold true. It's not just the photos displaying evident rust that stand out. Many U.S steel news outlets claim that Tesla's cleaning guidelines for the Cybertruck further support the notion that the steel grade used may be one of the less rust-resistant variants.

For instance, the Cybertruck owner's manual strictly recommends cleaning the surface of the truck with an alcohol-based solvent for oil and acidic stains like tar or bird droppings. It also says to follow this by rinsing the surface with clear water or a pH-adjusted soap, especially after an extended journey.

While reports indicate that maintaining a rust-free Cybertruck is conceivable, it's difficult not to draw comparisons between the truck and another vehicle boasting a polished stainless steel body: the DeLorean DMC-12. Like the Cybertruck, it gained attention despite a few mechanical issues and a hefty price tag. But rust? Oddly enough, there were never any such complaints about the DMC-12.

By Sohrab Darabshaw

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