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Tesla’s stainless-steel Cybertruck is not rusting, company engineer says after complaints

Some Cybertruck owners say orange-tinted specks on their bare-steel pickups look like rust. Tesla engineer Wes Morrill said its surface contamination that can be cleaned off easily.

Tesla Cybertruck owners have sounded an alarm over orange-colored specks that have appeared on the truck’s bare stainless-steel exterior after being exposed to the rain. And some fear that it’s premature rust.

Since the pickup was only launched in November and Tesla CEO Elon Musk has claimed the exterior is practically bulletproof, rust would be unusual, according to Tesla fans in online forums.

And indeed, a Tesla engineer has taken to the Musk-owned social media platform X to assure Cybertruck owners that the pickup is not rusting. Rather, its unusual exterior panels are drawing surface contamination that’s rusting.

“Stainless steel is reactive and free iron that sits on it will rust,” Wes Morrill said on his X account. Morrill is Cybertruck lead engineer and director of reliability, test and analysis at Tesla, according to his LinkedIn page. “It’s surface contamination only and can be cleaned off easily.”

Musk responded to Morrill’s Feb. 16 X post with “Yeah,” suggesting he agrees with the assessment.

Other X users replied with images of regular, painted cars with orange rust specks embedded in the paint. A purported owner of a DeLorean vehicle, the sports car from the 1980s that also used stainless-steel exterior panels, posted a picture with rust contamination and said it was “easy to remove.”

Morrill’s post was a reply to a YouTube video by the Bearded Tesla Guy account, which is run by Justin Demaree, according to his LinkedIn profile page.

Tesla stainless-steel Cybertruck

Morrill called the YouTube video “good myth busting” for showing how the orange specks can be removed from the stainless steel with a common household cleaner.

The Cybertruck controversy, called “rust-gate” by some on social media, began on the Cybertruck Owners Club forum early this month when two truck owners posted images of their pickups with the small orange specks. They suggested the specks could be caused by rust or some other form of corrosion.

In Bearded Tesla Guy’s Feb. 16 video titled “CyberTRUCK or CyberRUST,” Demaree tried different cleaning products to remove the rust contamination from a recently delivered Cybertruck to an owner in Florida.

Window cleaner didn’t work, but a kitchen stainless-steel cleaner did, he said.

“These specks are absolutely everywhere,” Demaree said in the video. “And of course, a rational person would be rather alarmed by this. It’s totally natural if you see this on a new $100,000 truck.”

Tesla is delivering limited Foundation Series versions of the Cybertruck starting at more than $100,000 with shipping. Sometime this year, it will start delivering less expensive versions, Tesla said on its website.

Demaree, with 80,000 YouTube subscribers, speculated the orange stains were likely caused by rail dust that could have contaminated the Cybertruck during transport, or maybe even metal dust from the Tesla factory.

Even before the “rust-gate” controversy, Tesla fans on the Cybertruck forum were discussing how hard it might be to keep the exterior panels clean, since they don’t have protective coverings like paint and clear coat.

One post included an image from the Cybertruck owner’s manual. It says: “To prevent damage to the exterior, immediately remove corrosive substances (such as grease, oil, bird droppings, tree resin, dead insects, tar spots, road salt, industrial fallout, etc.). Do not wait until Cybertruck is due for a complete wash.”

On Tesla’s website, the automaker is also selling “Cybertruck Color Paint Film,” similar to a vinyl vehicle wrap, starting at $6,000 for white, black and grey. Premium colors Satin Abyss Blue and Satin Rose Gold are priced at $6,500. The purchase price includes material, installation and a loaner vehicle from a Tesla service center.

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