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Will The Tesla Cybertrucks Rust? (Indestructible Pick-Up Truck)

by Emily Nicholls | Updated: June 28th, 2022

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If you are like me you are patiently waiting to see the production-ready Cybertruck design. However, since it’s not yet available, it is difficult to assess how well it will withstand rust.

The Cybertruck will not come painted and although the stainless steel exoskeleton is rust-resistant rusting can potentially occur. It has been suggested by some that car wrapping could be an option for different colors but this will not likely be offered by Tesla.

Will The Cybertruck Come in Different Colors?

When the Cybertruck prototype was first seen, people speculated that perhaps the lack of color was just for the prototype and that other options would be available when the pickup truck went into production next year. 

However, in a response on Twitter Musk has confirmed that drivers will be able to have it wrapped if they want it in a different color or pattern. This is unlikely going to be a service added by Tesla themselves but there are plenty of paint shops that offer the service. 

Does Stainless Steel Rust?

Rust continues to be an important consideration when buying a car, particularly if you live in particularly high salt or acidic environments. So far, the Cybertruck has garnered a lot of attention for the proposed 304 stainless steel exoskeleton, which the Starship spacecraft also has. The material is known for its strength and durability, however, stainless steel is not impenetrable and rust can occur. 

What Is Rust?

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Rust can be a chemical or electrochemical reaction between iron and water or air. It often takes the form of small orange/brown spots and can cause substantial damage to a variety of metals, including stainless steel. Spots often start out small and if left untreated they can quickly turn into large holes.

Rust is categorized into two different types: surface oxidation and a metal’s reaction with water or another fluid, which forms an oxide layer. When the iron reacts with the oxygen in the air, it will form rust. This corrosion is often caused by salt water, which means that cars near the ocean are more likely to fall victim. Cybertrucks are no exception.  

Will The Cybertruck Be Less Susceptible To Rust Than Other Vehicles?

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Since the Cybertruck has not yet gone into production, this is a little tricky to assess. However, some of Tesla’s models use similar stainless-steel framing and components and it has mainly been noted that they have fared better than other vehicles.

There are always exceptions with this sort of thing, the odd disgruntled owner who has experienced bad rust. However, overall Tesla’s vehicles do seem to do quite well in the fight against rust. The aluminum and steel used in Tesla’s vehicles are what is known as rust-resistant rather than rust-proof. 

Due to this, it is recommended to regularly wash the vehicle with soap and water and to have them waxed once a year, which helps maintain the shin on the vehicles and protect them from rust. For vehicles cars with paintwork, it has also been suggested by Tesla car owners to avoid automatic car washes, whose brushes could potentially damage the paintwork.

However, since the Tesla Cybertruck will not have paint on the bodywork at all, it presents an interesting question of whether this will make the pickup truck more susceptible to rust. 

How Durable Will The Tesla Cybertruck be?

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The Cybertruck will be built with a steel body with aluminum panels. There will also be an additional layer of stainless steel added to the truck’s frame, which will work to protect it from rust. It has been claimed the Cybertruck will be four times as strong as its comparable models on the market being able to withstand collisions of up to 100mph without crumpling.

It is a smooth monochrome exoskeleton that essentially puts the shell on the outside of the car and aims to help eliminate dents, damage, and corrosion.  

Will Wrapping The Tesla Cybertruck Prevent Rust?

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Wrapping your car is nothing new and for people living in particularly cold weather where rock salt and salt bring may be used for anti-icing measures, wrapping is something they can do to prevent corrosion. Similarly, for people living near the ocean.

Yet the answer is not necessarily a clear-cut yes or no. While some car owners swear by wrapping their cars, others have reported damage to the exterior of vehicles, which in turn resulted in corrosion and then rust. 

Another consideration with wrapping a car is it is just the exterior body of the vehicle and this does not cover any of the areas underneath the vehicle, which can be prone to rust since they would be closer to the salt on the road. 

Is Car Wrapping Permanent?

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Car wrapping is not permanent unlike automotive paint and can be removed easily without damaging the exterior of the vehicle. Car owners can leave the wrapping on as long as they want to. There are a lot of third-party suppliers and installers which Tesla has historically relied on.

The company did launch its own car wrap service in delivery centers in five cities in China. So, it is possible that in the future Tesla may expand this service to other countries around the world. 

One of the indications Tesla could be considering launching its own wrapping service in other countries is that it has reduced the number of color options on its vehicles in order to facilitate repairs at service centers and streamline production.

Many Tesla owners have therefore turned to wraps in order to get different color options and to be unique compared to the other Tesla vehicles. 

Will Car Wrapping Cause Damage?

Well, there certainly are potential risks that damage can be caused to the exterior of a vehicle when the wrap is removed. This is exasperated when cars already have damage to the paintwork, although we have already established that Tesla Cybertrucks will not have any paintwork.

So, cars with a flawless exterior can certainly less likely to suffer damage when the wrap is removed. It is important to note that most manufacturers or wrap installers do not offer guarantees against damage, which is certainly something to bear in mind. 

What Are The Major Benefits Of Car Wrapping?

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Wrapping certainly is not for everyone but if you are particularly against the bare metal look of the Tesla Cybertruck but love the rest of the features of the pickup truck then it might be something you would consider. So, what are the benefits of car wrapping?

How Do You Care For Car Wraps?

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On average, car wraps can last five years but they have been known to last as long as ten years, provided of course, that they are properly cared for. So how do you do that? You should ensure you keep the material clear and if you notice any of the material coming loose, you should fix it immediately.

Although caring for the car wrap extends its lifeline, other factors like climate, temperatures, and weather can play an important role too. 

Can You Wrap Your Car Yourself?

If you are a DIYer at heart, you might think this is a good project for your weekend. But the truth is that car wrapping is not for the faint-hearted and getting it wrong could result in visual flaws. It is a difficult process and requires working meticulously and a lot of patience. Also, the adhesive material takes approximately 24 hours to fully stick to the process so it cannot be rushed. 

Have The Other Tesla Models Struggled With Rust?

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The general consensus is that Tesla cars hold up pretty well with rust but there have been some instances in the part with rust that lead to their recall. In 2019, some customers hit the forums and sent complaints to Tesla saying they were already seeing rust and corrosion problems.

It was initially thought the cause was a hiccup in production and an inspection by the Finnish Chamber of Commerce found several reasons for the rust and corrosion problems, including missing paint on the fitting of the doors and hatching, and uneven paintwork. 

Tesla subsequently updated its manual with recommendations for rinsing any road salt off the underside of the vehicle, wheel wells, and brakes and saying that corrosive damage was not covered by warranty.

The Model S has also experienced some rust problems in the past. In 2018, the steering assists motor bolts on that particular model caused vehicles to have to be recalled due to extensive corrosion.

Similarly, there was a recall in February 2020 for Model S and Model X vehicles made before 2016. 

Was There Evidence To Support The Rust Problems?

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In the case of the recalls of the Model S, which had steering assist motor bolts that had shown signs of rust, there was certainly a case for why they were recalled. The steering assists motor bolts to form part of the overall powering steering motor, and in the Model S, there are five bolts that hold the motor in place.

However, should these bolts fail, even though it is still possible to drive the car, it does pose a risk to the driver. 

Tesla issued a statement that said the corrosion on the bolts was caused by the use of salt on roads, which contained calcium or magnesium rather than sodium chloride. The majority of the vehicles that did observe rust on the bolts were found in colder climates where road salt is likely to have been used during the winter months.

The percentage of vehicles that did show signs of rust was still very small, though, and approximately, 123,000 Model S vehicles were recalled. It was still one of the largest recalls in Tesla’s history. 

How Do I Check For Rust?

The best time to check for rust is after the cold, winter months, and in the summer if you experience high humidity, and if you live by the ocean then just use your better judgment. The first step is to park your car where you get down underneath it. This might be your garage or yard, just somewhere that is relatively flat so you can get a proper look under. 

Now for a car anatomy class, you will need to locate the frame rails, which are underneath than car doors, axles, suspension, and wheel wells. These are most likely places for rust to occur in your vehicle. Next turn your attention to the car doors, both inside and out, around the windshields and the windows.

If you do spot any rust, then it is important to get it treated by professionals before it gets worse. 

It is clear that the Tesla Cybertruck is going to be a beast of a pickup truck with its unique design and features. While it has now been confirmed that it will come with unpainted bodywork, this is definitely not going to be everyone’s cup of tea.

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For those who like more color in their lives, it will be possible to have the car wrapped. This decision will ultimately lie with the vehicle owners and it will be down to weight-up the pros and cons of wrapping the car.

According to Tesla, the materials they are using are rust-resistant which will help, and as always taking good care of your vehicle will help keep it in tip-top condition for years to come. 

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Emily Nicholls