Forget rust spots — handprints are the bigger headache for Tesla Cybertruck drivers


Steve Sert, a civil geotechnical engineer in California, poses with his new Cybertruck.Courtesy of Steve Sert
  • Some Tesla Cybertruck owners noticed their new stainless steel vehicles have small rust specks.
  • Several have resorted to using the cleaning product Barkeepers Friend to take the spots off.
  • But even the hassle of the upkeep can’t bring these new Cybertruck owners down.

You’ve been waiting years for the truck of your dreams, languishing on a waitlist while the tech billionaire behind your futuristic automobile cements the finishing touches on the world’s most exclusive new electric vehicle.

But when your nearly $100,000 Cybertruck finally arrives, the doors smudge when you open them, and specks of rust mar the stainless steel exterior.

Sounds like a recipe for disappointment, no?

But for some members of the first class of Tesla Cybertruck owners —many of whom have previously owned Teslas — little can outweigh the excitement of being among the first to drive the new vehicle.

Six Tesla customers who spoke to Business Insider said reports of rust specks and smudges have not detracted from their enthusiasm for the truck.

“I think Tesla gets away with a lot of stuff because the driving experience is that good,” Donald Green, a new Cybertruck owner based in League City, Texas, told Business Insider. “Once you start driving Tesla, you never go back.”

Tesla delivered its first dozen Cybertrucks in November, but most people only began receiving their vehicles earlier this year. The electric pickup has a price tag between $60,990 and $99,990, depending on its trim level. The premium version of the truck includes an estimated 320-mile range and can go from 0 to 60 miles per hour in 2.6 seconds.

A few months after deliveries began, some members of a Cybertruck-owners forum started complaining about rust spots on the vehicle. Forum users shared photos of the small orange specks and asked for advice about how to clean current spots, as well as stave off future grime.

A Tesla engineer quickly jumped on X, formerly Twitter, to explain that it wasn’t the Cybertruck’s metal itself that was rusting, saying the car was simply picking up surface contamination. The engineer, Wes Morrill, said the orange spots were apparent rusting from metal particles that may have collected from the factory or via railway transportation. He assured worried customers that the surface contamination could be cleaned off easily. Tesla CEO Elon Musk responded “yeah” to Morrill’s post.

Spots, dust, rust, and fingerprints

As more and more eager Cybertruck owners started receiving their vehicles, Facebook groups and online forums dedicated to the Cybertruck became awash with requests for specific cleaning advice to stave off dust, rust, and another major issue with the stainless steel body, handprints.

Dennis Wang, a YouTuber who got his Cybertruck in January, told Business Insider that he didn’t initially clock the small specks of dust before his detailer pointed them out.

“I had no idea what to do,” Wang said. “I just hoped it wouldn’t spread.”

Similarly, Green noticed dust collections on both the inside and outside his Cybertruck soon after it was delivered in February.

“There are fingerprints everywhere on the vehicle, and it picks up stuff that comes off the road,” he said. “I ended up having three spots on my vehicle.”

Donald Green's Cybertruck sits in his driveway
Donald Green said his Cybertruck arrived with dust on the interior.Courtesy of Donald Green

Three other new Cybertruck owners told BI that they didn’t notice any rust spots but were surprised to find how easily the stainless steel carries handprints — an issue that is commonly seen with stainless steel appliances, not cars.

After all, the Cybertruck is the first stainless steel vehicle to be produced since DMC made the stainless steel DeLorean and later halted production in 1982. The metal is known to be difficult to shape and prone to smudging.

But, Cybertruck owners appear to be handling the extra upkeep.

A nearly $100,000 car and a roughly $10 solution?

Some Cybertruck owners tried everything from Windex to more hardcore cleaning solutions. One common cleaning product emerged as the most recommended remedy — Barkeepers Friend, which Morrill also recommended in his X post.

On YouTube, folks recommend the Soft Cleanser product. The under $10 cleaning agent works by cutting into the top layer of metal and removing the thin layer with the rust speck embedded in it.

Three of the Cybertruck owners who spoke to BI said they had already used Barkeepers Friend on their vehicles’ spots and stains, crediting the cleaning agent with taking off all imperfections. A fourth owner ordered some of the cleaner soon after he saw the Facebook groups raving about it and said he has plans to use it down the line.

But the Barkeepers Friend approach — followed up by a quick Windex wash — doesn’t appear to be a particularly sophisticated solution. The cleaning agents are typically reserved for household cleaning.

“I’ve seen a ton of Barkeepers Friend being advertised, but I don’t even know what that is, and I used to work on cars,” Jay Larson, a Cybertruck owner in Arizona who previously detailed vehicles, said.

Tesla did not respond to a request for comment.

More drastic measures

While cleaning solvents may be a quick fix for dirty Cybertrucks, four of the new owners said they had already or were in the process of getting their vehicles wrapped. A vehicle vinyl wrap covers the entirety of a car. It is often a different color or finish to give the automobile a unique look while also serving as a protective layer.

Even at discounted sponsorship prices, such wraps can cost upwards of $5,000 — on top of the up to $99,990 for the Cybertruck itself.

Some owners like Larson simply bought the wrap to make their Cybertrucks stand out. He opted for a blue matte.

Jay Larson poses with his new Cybertruck, which he had wrapped.
Jay Larson poses with his new Cybertruck, which he had wrapped in a blue matte.Courtesy of Jay Larson

But others turned to wrapping as a preventive measure against the spots and stains in an effort to minimize the upkeep of the stainless steel.

Win Cramer, a California-based Cybertruck owner who got his vehicle in February, chose a clear PPF wrap that cost him about $5,000.

“I got the PPF filter purely for fingerprints. It was a fingerprint magnet which drove me bananas,” he told BI of his new truck. “The fingerprints certainly wash off, and I used Windex wipes, but I shouldn’t have to do that. That kind of sucks, so the wrap was my way of getting around that.”

The extra upkeep isn’t entirely unexpected for experienced Tesla owners, many of whom have taken on the role of early adopters.

“I do feel like Tesla could give us more recommendations on these sorts of things,” Wang said, referring to the Cybertruck upkeep. “It feels like we’re left in the dark and have to blindly experiment on our own.

“But this is kind of standard for Tesla,” he added. “They let others figure out the kinks as they go.”

Other owners pointed out that it’s not uncommon for higher-end vehicles to require a little extra upkeep.

“The more money you spend, you generally take care of it more,” Cramer, who also owns a Porsche Taycan Turbo, said. “Some of it’s just natural with the investment that’s made. The Cybertruck is a car person’s car at this stage.”

The Cybertruck is at a lower price point than most luxury cars, but it certainly has the same clientele. That might not be the case for long. If Tesla hits Musk’s ambitious production targets for the Cybertruck, Tesla is likely to face less forgiving buyers, automotive analyst Ivan Drury told BI.

“When you have a rare and exotic car, people are willing to put up with a lot,” he said. “That won’t be true if it becomes as commonplace as something like a Camry. Regular people don’t want to spend that time.”

But for now, these drivers say the truck is worth whatever inconveniences it may bring.

“Tesla is the best car on the road. It’s the best car to drive,” Green said. “The driving experience is just excellent.”



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