Rust claims against Cybertruck: Is stainless steel stainless forever?

The boldest claim made by Elon Musk on the latest Telsla vehicle recently backfired from furious Cybertruck owners, claiming there are noticeable orange spots on their truck after driving it in the rain for just a few days. 

"Just picked up my Cybertruck today," said one of the Cybertruck Owners Club forum members. "The advisor specifically mentioned the Cybertrucks develop orange rust marks in the rain and that required the vehicle to be buffed out."

Another user saw similar blemishes on his vehicle after driving it through shower at LA. "They documented the corrosion, and told me they'll give me a call next month when the tools have arrived and they can perform the service/repair," the user wrote after taking their vehicle to their local service center. "The Cybertruck has 381 miles on it, and has spent much of the 11 days in my custody parked in front of my house."

Although stainless steel is renowned for its corrosion resistance, it cannot completely immune to pollution and rusting. Traditional automobile manufacturers have long avoided using stainless steel panels because they are heavy, expensive, and difficult to process. Additionally, the hardness of stainless steel can pose a greater risk of injury in accidents. 

The new Cybertruck does not hand over user with clear coat, that outermost layer of transparent paint that comes as standard on almost every new motor vehicle on the planet.  On Tesla’s website, The company offers Cybertruck color paint film as an option. Tesla assures the US$5,000 worth urethane-based, "premium color paint films" are "self-healing" and protect against scratches despite the exterior itself doesn't scratch easily. Wrapping up all exterior stainless-steel surfaces, the film is "more environmentally friendly than traditional vinyl wraps," the company says.

The bottom line is that stainless steel stains, "Stainless" does not equal to "never stains," just that it stains less than other steels. Also, it is important to understand that all stainless steels were not “created equal”. There are five basic families of "stainless steel": austenitic, ferritic, martensitic, duplex, and precipitation hardened. Some containing chromium among other constituents, such as nickel and molybdenum, are more corrosion-resistant than others, forming an impervious and protective molecular-scale surface barrier of chromium oxide. Thus, theoretically there is still a possibility of discoloration if cheaper steel components beneath the Cybertruck's panels react with the stainless steel product. Bird excrement, grease, oil, tree resin, dead insects, tar spots are well-known corrosive substances, too. 

What another crucial factor cannot be neglected in this dispute is Cybertruck’s user manual, it includes specific startling care instructions for those who have bought the SUV, including when washing it is advised not to use hot water or clean the electric truck in direct sunlight. 

As a whole, while stainless steel may offer a unique futuristic aesthetic for car exteriors, it also brings challenges. the potential rusting and discoloration issues reported by Cybertruck users, highlighting the importance of proper care and maintenance. Whether stainless steel will become the standard choice for future cars or if alternative materials will gain prominence in the pursuit of style and durability remains to be seen.

In short:
Stains spot on Cybertruck raises concern to potential buyers.
Stainless steel can inflict a greater risk of injury in car accidents.
US$5,000 color paint films provided to buyers as an option.

Discoloration is possible if users inappropriately maintain their vehicle.

Stainless steel has different levels of corrosion resistance depending on grade.

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