Tesla Cybertruck Engineer: Rust Spots Are Just "Surface Contamination"

Chris Teague
by Chris Teague

At this point, the Tesla Cybertruck has made so many headlines that it’s impossible to keep track of them all. Good or bad, the EV gets a ton of attention, most recently for reports that some owners noticed its stainless steel body rusting in places.

The claims immediately went viral, with people across the internet chiming in to poke fun or offer support for Tesla. Now, a Tesla engineer has stepped up to defend the truck, and it appears that the “rust” might be easily cleaned.

Earlier this week, Cybertruck lead engineer and director of reliability, test, and analysis Wes Morill took to X to offer details on the truck and its unique body. “Stainless steel is reactive, and free iron that sits on it will rust. It’s surface contamination only and can be cleaned off easily.” CEO Elon Musk responded to the post in agreement, and several loyal Tesla fans chimed in.

The controversy started on the Cybertruck Owners Club forum as images from two owners surfaced, appearing to show small orange spots, which they said looked like rust or corrosion. Morrill’s post on X featured a link to the “Bearded Tesla Guy” YouTube channel, which published a video to show that the spots could be cleaned.

The YouTuber speculated that the spots could be caused by debris accumulating on the body during shipping. He found that window cleaner wasn’t effective, but stainless steel cleaner was. Even so, he admitted that the spots were disappointing to see on a new truck with a price tag of more than $100,000.

[Image: Tesla]

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Chris Teague
Chris Teague

Chris grew up in, under, and around cars, but took the long way around to becoming an automotive writer. After a career in technology consulting and a trip through business school, Chris began writing about the automotive industry as a way to reconnect with his passion and get behind the wheel of a new car every week. He focuses on taking complex industry stories and making them digestible by any reader. Just don’t expect him to stay away from high-mileage Porsches.

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6 of 62 comments
  • Rochester Rochester on Feb 22, 2024

    The answer is to wipe it off? I don't recall ever having to "wife off rust" in any car I've ever owned. Well... once a year claybar for rail dust maybe.

    • Lorenzo Lorenzo on Feb 23, 2024

      It's stainless. Just wash it daily with Dawn, like your forks and spoons.

  • MaintenanceCosts MaintenanceCosts on Feb 22, 2024

    If you trust that Tesla vehicles are capable of "Full Self-Driving," then maybe you should also trust that this is surface contamination and that the underlying metal is unaffected.

    (Although it's also worth mentioning that surface contamination comes off traditionally painted cars with a sponge and a little soap.)

  • Zipper69 Zipper69 on Feb 22, 2024

    "....the spots were disappointing to see on a new truck with a price tag of more than $100,000"

    This week's understatement award.

  • Exner fan Exner fan on Feb 22, 2024

    Can a CT go through an automatic car wash?

    • ToolGuy ToolGuy on Feb 26, 2024

      @Exner to (sort of) answer your question, the owner's manual for the Cybertruck apparently isn't officially available yet. But the 'Wired' link from el scotto above contains 7 slides which walk through the relevant sections of the manual. Automatic car wash recommendations are included; the truck has a "Car Wash Mode" and an "Enable Free Roll" mode.

      Touchless with pH 13 or below is your short answer.