“Rust Spots/Corrosion is the Norm”: Inside the Tesla Cybertruck Forum That Blew Up the Internet

Dustin Waters
Dustin Waters is a writer from Macon, Ga, currently living in D.C. After years as a beat reporter in the Lowcountry, he now focuses his time on historical oddities, trashy movies, and the merits of professional wrestling.

It began simply enough — a simple post on the aptly named CybertruckOwnersClub.com. Little did commenters know that their online debate would make headlines across the internet as outlet after outlet took the opportunity to dunk on Tesla. 

After years of hype, the company’s much-talked-about Cybertrucks first began reaching customers last fall. But as more and more owners finally got a chance to get behind the wheel, questions started to mount regarding the stainless steel vehicle’s alleged indestructibility. 

That brings us to the forum titled “Rust Spots/Corrosion is the Norm.”

On February 1, 2024, user Raxar posted, “Just picked up my Cybertruck today. The advisor specifically mentioned the cybertrucks develop orange rust marks in the rain and that required the vehicle to be buffed out. I know I heard the story of never take out your Delorean in the rain but I just never read anything about rust and Cybertrucks. All in all smooth delivery.”

That sounds not smooth at all. According to Kelley Blue Book, pricing on Cybertrucks starts at $79,990. Imagine someone drops off your new $80,000 ride and casually mentions that it is allergic to the rain. 

Now, other forum members immediately accused Raxar of lying about the rust issues. They argued it could be the result of pollen or “rail dust” from transporting the vehicles by train. And some suggested that it would take some time to figure out if the proprietary brand of stainless steel used for the Cybertrucks could be affected by rain, bugs, or bird shit. 

Raxar responded with photos of the small orange marks that appeared on their Cybertruck. This drew concern from another commenter who responded, “Not cool, I’m supposed to pick one up tomorrow and it’s raining all day.”

CybertruckOwnersClub.com

Yep, that is not cool. If rain is already such a major concern, you may as well be driving around a car made of cotton candy. 

It’s at this point that owners began to wonder if salt would also prove detrimental to their indestructible super trucks. Some were in complete denial that any of these claims were true.

As forum member mark555055c commented, “I’m going to need to see some sort of update as this doesn’t make any sense. I can leave raw steel in the rain and any oxidation that occurs simply wipes away. There is a zero percent chance that Tesla and/or the supplier of the HFS [Hard Freaking Steel, the company’s internal nickname for the Cybertruck’s steel paneling] would have dropped the ball on the durability or corrosion resistance.”

Finally on February 5, Cybertruck owner OnTheSnap corroborates Raxar’s story about the orange spots. OnTheSnap posted that a simple wipedown with Barkeepers Friend and Windex was enough to have their hood looking fresh and clean again. 

But fears across the forum had already started to cascade (another detergent you may want to use on your Cybertruck). 

One Ontario-based Tesla fan posted, “To avoid rusting, apparently the owners manual warns of the need to wash off salt after driving in it. A main reason I ordered the CT was to not have to worry about road salt. Body’s bullet proof but don’t let salt get on it?”

Well, my response is simply that bullets aren’t made of salt. 

Dammit, except sometimes they are.

Anyway, a week following Raxar’s initial post and the forum is a mix of metallurgical discourse and dudes boasting about how good their grills look after sitting outside in the elements for 15 years. It’s incredible. 

Moving ahead to Day 13 of the forum, we find Cybertruck owner Daryoon has identified specks on their vehicle as “fallout from the environment and/or rail dust.” Daryoon was able to remove lots of the specks, but the application of some water spot remover may have left a spot that “is too clean now.” 

CybertruckOwnersClub.com

This is a real damned if you do, damned if you don’t situation. 

It’s around this point that news outlets begin publishing articles about the alleged rust issues and linking to this very forum as a source. As seems to be a common theme among Musk aficionados, many members of the forum attribute all the negative attention to “trolls” looking to disparage the name of the humble Cybertruck. One forum member proposed that Elon Musk sink a Cybertruck into the ocean and set up a live feed to prove its resiliency to rust. This is what we call sticking it to the haters. 

Finally on Day 15 of the forum, Cybertruck owner HTownQ comments that he drove his brand-new vehicle in the rain for several hours across Texas. Once back at home, he simply wiped down the Cybertruck with a beach towel, and it was fine. That cautious approach didn’t sit too well with everybody. 

“It’s a truck. I have no intention of wiping down my truck each time it rains or snows and gets salt on it,” posted forum member Glenn. “I live in Pa, and we get all types of weather. Maybe this is why they are mainly delivering to warmer places right now. I don’t know. I could spend another 6 to 8 thousand on a wrap, just more money.”

Now, it’s interesting what happens just over two weeks into the lifespan of this widely reported forum. Some conspiracists have popped up. They claim that outsiders have invaded the message boards to plant false claims. Tension has surfaced between those posting, but the debate has largely remained civil (by internet standards).

Then forum member Celiboy makes a rather profound observation: the forum members themselves, some of the Cybertruck’s biggest defenders, are fueling the speculation surrounding the vehicle’s possible shortcomings. But they are also the primary source of unfiltered discourse about what it means to be a Cybertruck owner.

“An interesting observation. I have an Apple News subscription, don’t judge lol, and have read three articles from three different news organizations with information coming directly out of this very thread. Credit given to the Cybertruck Owners Club talking about owners reporting that their trucks are rusting,” Celiboy posted. “All three seemed clickbaity with the titles and the beginning of the article but eventually got around to mentioning rail dust, other possible causes and possible ways to remove it. Just a heads up if you didn’t know. Makes sense to use this forum as a resource considering the size and concentration of owners sharing their experiences.”

Similar to Homer Simpson’s profound ode to alcohol, the Cybertruck forum mindtrust was the cause of — and solution to — all of their problems. 

Largely due to Tesla owner Elon Musk’s unbearable public persona and unflinching promotion of the Cybertruck, his actual customers face accusations of slander and fraud from his most cult-like followers when all they want to know is how to remove a few spots. 

And that’s before you even get to the possibility that your innocuous message board post gets plastered across the internet when you just needed a little guidance from someone with a similar lack of taste in motor vehicles. 

So while we wait for Cybertrucks to become plentiful enough that we can take our own mocking pictures of them in the grocery store parking lot, here’s to the proud few paving their own path through Cybertruck ownership. May the sun shine on you always. 

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