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Tesla Shares Details Regarding Cybertruck Premature Rusting Issue – Says The “Cybertruck Stainless Steel is not Rusting,” the issue is “Iron Containing Debris From the Environment” – Gives 7-Step Cleaning Instruction

Tesla has reassured Cybertruck owners that their trucks “are not rusting.” Says multiple brown spots seen on the stainless steel exoskeleton are caused by “iron-containing debris from the environment” stuck to the truck.

The Cybertruck is the only vehicle out on the roads that is made out of stainless steel exoskeleton and delivered without an external coat of paint.

You can get your Cybertruck in any color as long as it’s shiny, exposed stainless steel.

The only other production vehicle in recent history to feature a stainless steel exterior is the DeLorean DMC-12.

Overall, less than 10,000 DMC-12s were produced, and the company went bankrupt less than two years after producing the first DeLorean.

Related News: A Tesla Cybertruck Takes a Chunk Out of a Nissan Sentra Using Its Stainless Steel Exoskeleton During a High Energy Crash – The Nissan is Totaled While the Cybertruck Gets Barely Dented

This is all to say that Tesla, with the Cybertruck’s stainless steel exterior, has ventured into virtually unchartered waters.

As the first mainstream vehicle to feature an unpainted stainless steel exterior, naturally, there is curiosity as to how the Cybertruck holds up to rust.

Although the term “stainless” steel suggests rust-proof, stainless actually means stain-resistant, and like any iron alloy, stainless steel inevitably rusts.

Given the fact that the Cybertruck does not have a paint layer to separate the stainless steel from the environment, there are concerns that the vehicle will prematurely succumb to rust.

To mitigate this issue, Tesla, in collaboration with SpaceX, developed a brand new, highly rust-resistant stainless steel alloy.

The stainless steel alloy used on the Cybertruck is similar to the stainless steel used by SpaceX’s starship rocket.

This rocket and the stainless steel it is made of are designed to withstand the harsh outer space environment, which involves getting in and out of the environment at very high speeds and temperatures and spending years next to salty bodies of water.

If the Cybertruck’s stainless steel is good enough for a rocket, you would assume it’ll be good enough for a truck.

How is the Cybertruck’s stainless steel holding up in real life?

There have been conflicting reports when it comes to Cybertruck rusting issues. Some owners who live in cold, wet environments with salted streets are reporting that they have not observed any rusting issues on their Cybertruck.

Whereas others who live in a relatively dry environment have reported noticing multiple rust spots all over their new truck.

Reports of premature rust issues in the media have made the rounds, with several commentators using Cybertruck rust issues to criticize Tesla.

Most balanced Cybertruck owners say they have noticed a few rust spots on their trucks. However, the rusting appears to be at the surface and not a significant issue.

At least the rust spots do not represent a significant problem from the perspective of the Cybertruck’s steel rusting and losing its integrity.

Having said that, rust spots, even if they don’t cause a structural problem, still pose some issues in the aesthetics department.

As of now, Tesla has not publicly commented regarding Cybertruck's premature rusting issues. However, even though Tesla has not yet directly addressed the issue, the EV maker has nonetheless released the “Cybertruck Do It Yourself” guide this past week, and the document provides interesting tidbits about the Cybertruck rust issue.

The document is focused mainly on how to clean and maintain your Cybertruck properly; however, in the section titled “Removing Surface Contaminations,” the EV maker directly addresses the rust spots seen by Cybertruck owners.

In addition to sharing a picture of a Cybertruck stainless steel panel with seeming rust spots, Tesla writes…

“Throughout your vehicle ownership, you may notice contamination on the surface of the stainless-steel body panels. These spots may appear as orange or brown rust. However, it is important to note that your Cybertruck is not rusting.”

Yes, you read that right. According to Tesla, the rust spot on your Cybertruck does not mean your Cybertruck is rusting. So what is going on?

Tesla states, “These spots are surface contamination caused by iron-containing debris that is picked up by your vehicle as you drive.”

This means the rust spots on your Cybertruck do not arise from the stainless steel exoskeleton, but rather iron-containing debris from the environment is stuck to the stainless steel, and that debris is what is rusting.

This should be a load-off for early Tesla Cybertruck owners concerned their trucks might be prematurely rusting.

Now that we have gotten that out of the way, although your Cybertruck isn’t rusting, having multiple brown spots all over your truck is still not appealing.

Luckily, Tesla gives an in-depth guide on removing iron-containing debris from your Cybertruck’s stainless steel exoskeleton.

What is the proper way to clean your Cybertruck?

To remove the contaminations causing the rust spots, Tesla officially recommends “spot-cleaning the panels with Isopropyl Alcohol (IPA) wipes.”

However, if isopropyl alcohol is ineffective at cleaning the contamination, Tesla recommends a seven-step cleaning procedure.

  1.  Remove loose dust and debris from the vehicle surface using water and a mild detergent if necessary
  2. Dry the vehicle with a clean microfiber towel.
  3. While wearing gloves, apply a mild, citric acid cleaner with a sponge or microfiber cloth to evenly saturate the entire area of the stainless-steel panel. Tesla recommends CitriSurf® 77 or equivalent. The citric acid binds to and dissolves the iron oxide in the contamination, which can then be removed from the stainless steel panel.
  4. Apply enough cleaner to cover the surface completely while minimizing dripping or pooling.
  5. Let rest for approximately 3 minutes, then remove the cleaner using a blue Scotch-Brite® Non-Scratch Scour Pad to lightly scrub and remove the surface contamination.
  6. Remove any residual cleaning solution with water and dry the panel with a microfiber cloth.
  7. The cleaning solution may leave a white residue on plastic trim. This can easily be removed with isopropyl alcohol (IPA) wipes. Continue caring for and cleaning your vehicle as normal.

As of now, this is all the information we have regarding the Cybertruck premature rust issue, Tesla’s explanation of the cause, and Tesla's recommendation to remove the rust particles.

However, we’ll be sure to keep you posted if we learn more information about the current issue. Until then, visit our site,, regularly for the latest updates.

So, what do you think? Are you happy to learn that the rust spots seen on some Cybertrucks are caused by environmental debris rather than by the truck’s stainless steel? Does this fact affect your Cybertruck purchasing decision? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Image: Screenshot from WaveForm Clips YouTube channel

For more information,  check out: Elon Musk Harshly Reacts To Suggestions He is Personally to Blame for the Massive 20% Decline in Tesla Deliveries This Quarter

Tinsae Aregay has been following Tesla and The evolution of the EV space on a daily basis for several years. He covers everything about Tesla, from the cars to Elon Musk, the energy business, and autonomy. Follow Tinsae on Twitter at @TinsaeAregay for daily Tesla news.


Robert Brody (not verified)    April 10, 2024 - 8:37PM

Cars for folks who support the USA! Tesla is making THE most American built cars. Ford, GM and Chrysler don't even crack the top 10 and Tesla outsold the Ford F150 in total units sold for 2023.

Sean Insolen (not verified)    April 10, 2024 - 8:39PM

I am in favor of the idea of electric vehicles. It's just that 75 % of our electricity is still made with coal, natural gas and nuclear so not really sure the advantage other than spending a lot of money initially.

James Carlin (not verified)    April 10, 2024 - 8:41PM

Tesla forgot to make the stainless steel passive. You dip the stuff into an acid bath, this dissolves surface iron particles.
I have a boat. That is used in saltwater. I learned the difference in “marine grade stainless steel” and “Home Depot stainless steel”. One is passivated, the other isn’t. Therefore one leaves orange stains, the other not so much.
The lesser grade doesn’t rust like regular steel, it just gets specs of surface rust. And leaves orange streaks on the gel coat.

Rick Cavallaro (not verified)    April 10, 2024 - 8:42PM

It's kind of weird how that "iron containing debris from the environment" doesn't get on my 2015 Honda Civic, but gets on Tesla Cybertruck.

John F. (not verified)    April 13, 2024 - 11:43AM

In reply to by Rick Cavallaro (not verified)

It is more noticeable on white vehicles and where you live. The larger the city the more debris such as Houston where I live.
Every white vehicle I have owned showed the small rust specks from iron road debris. This included Nissan, GMC, Ford and Chevy.

Matthew Hart (not verified)    April 10, 2024 - 8:46PM

The Cybertruck must be magnetic then, otherwise how would all this iron debris get attracted to the car.The other possibility is that it's rusting.

Mark Brassette (not verified)    April 12, 2024 - 9:45AM

Why exaggerate the picture like that - for clicks? It's no where near that dramatic or bad. Though the extra patina kinda looks neat.

Phred (not verified)    April 15, 2024 - 4:54AM

Tesla's position is ludicrous. Look you can test this out for yourself. The sink in your kitchen is stainless steel. Your cutlery is probably stainless steel.
Get some environmental iron oxide AKA steel wool. Leave it sitting in the bottom of the sink and leave a fork there too for good measure. Make sure that they're a little bit wet. Leave that unintended for a couple of days. There will be rust on the stainless steel sink and rust on the fork.
This is because where the iron oxide from the steel wool aka the Environmental contamination touches the stainless steel it forms a new alloy. And that Alloy can rust. By scrubbing you can clean off that 2-day buildup of rust. But you'll probably notice little pock marks in the surface of the sink and the surface of the fork where some of the iron oxide bound with and consumed the steel. That's permanent damage to and degradation of your sink and your fork.

The environment is filled with flying rust. Particularly roads where rusty cars travel. It is inevitable that environmental rust dust will settle on your vehicle and if it's wet it can start making visible marks within a day. Make no mistake. The instant the mark becomes visible you've already lost a little bit of the metal of the vehicle. Those micro pockmarks. And of course those indentations make it easier for the next time more rust to settle.
This isn't a problem in your kitchen sink normally because you are generally not foolish enough to leave steel wool sitting wet for a couple of days. Also you regularly wash out the sink. But cars especially trucks are meant to be parked outside in the environment and driven in the environment. Dirty environments. Environments where there's lots of rust. It is impossible to find a place where you can drive a truck that will not be affected to some degree by Environmental rust. And the only real workable solution to this is to meticulously clean each and every spot the instant you detect them.
Are you the kind of truck owner that likes to clean your truck with a Q-tip?
I'll give you an example scenario. You park your truck in the driveway. You don't even drive it anywhere. Nonetheless other vehicles drive by on the road and gradually the rust settles on it. Overnight condensation forms and the moisture combined with the settled flecks of iron oxide are all that it takes to make little brown spots start to appear on your pretty pristine undriven truck will be speckled by morning. And this will happen every single day.