Should I Rust-Proof My Tesla? And Obvious No-No’s

It has become increasingly popular for new Tesla owners to add additional layers of paint protection like ceramic coatings or paint protection films. Lately, some owners felt the need even to go as far as rust-proofing their Teslas. So, is it necessary to rust-proof a Tesla?

If you consider the minimal amount of rust that Teslas get, the costs involved, and the type of protection it actually gives, it shouldn’t be necessary to rust-proof a Tesla. You should rather use a more efficient and less expensive way of paint protection.

As always, there is more to the question than this simple answer. So check out the rest to get the full picture.

Rust-Proofing Your Tesla

There’s an equation for every car’s kryptonite: 4Fe + 3O2 + 6H2O → 4Fe(OH)3. Corrosion or rust occurs when metal is exposed to the lethal combination of oxygen and water.

Like a bug, once your car catches it, it’s contagious and can spread around faster than wildfire, causing cosmetic and functional problems. 

Tesla has had some issues with corrosion in the past on several of its models. Elon Musk might be able to buy Twitter, but he hasn’t figured out a way to pay off Mother Nature yet and stop her from causing wear and tear on your vehicle.

However, undercoating or rust-proofing your Tesla is not worth the trouble or the cost. 

If you would like to find out exactly if you should undercoat your Tesla and what it entails, then check out this related article that I wrote. The costs and alternatives have also been explained.

Should-I-Rust-Proof-My-Tesla - Blue Tesla Rust

Rust-Proofing Your Tesla is Not Worth It 

While it may be offered at your local dealership or body shop, rust-proofing is considered an “after-market” add-on to your vehicle, meaning it is not a service provided directly by any car company itself. There are ways to undercoat “DIY” undercoat your car, but that’s a surefire way to ruin your paint job if you don’t know exactly what you’re doing. 

If you want the job done by a professional, rust-proofing is offered at prices around $1,000. This is a highly inflated price when you consider the cons outweigh the pros. 

Fun Fact

For all you chemistry geeks out there, the precise chemical formula for rust is actually unknown. Most commonly, Fe2O3 x H2O is used, but the exact amount of water varies in every case.

The presence of other substances, such as un-reactive metals, acids, or rust itself, can accelerate the formation of the corrosive chemical compound. 

Rust-Proofing Affects Your Warranty

Tesla’s Body & Paint Repair Limited Warranty does not cover rust that occurs due to: 

  • Normal wear and tear on the vehicle 
  • Negligent care of the car, or 
  • Failure to make necessary repairs in a timely manner 

Nonetheless, there have been several voluntary recalls made to different models due to extensive corrosion or rusting at the fault of Tesla. 

You might be thinking, “isn’t this another reason to rust-proof my Tesla?” Actually, no. Cars that have third-party modifications like undercoating are no longer covered under warranty. 

If you have a Tesla that has been recalled in recent years but have rust-proofed your car, your coverage under the contract is now void. The cost of repairs is now coming out of your pocket, not Elon’s. (And we’re just guessing here, but most likely, he can spare the expense way more than you can). 

Tesla’s warranty for body parts and paint repair covers the following for different periods: 

Sheet MetalLifetime
Drive Unit (Excluding Tesla Roadster)4 years/50,000 miles (80,467 km)
Vehicle Battery4 years/50,000 miles (80,467 km)
Wall Connector4 years
Touchscreen/Media Unit4 years/50,000miles (80,467 km)

Rust Recalls

Several models have been recalled by Tesla in the past due to rust issues. The following have been noted in the last 6 years: 

  • 2018: Model S: Rust on steering assist motor bolts 
  • 2020: Model S/X: Rust on steering assist motor bolts 

Did You Know

In 2013, James Bond’s underwater submarine car from the 1976 film The Spy Who Loved Me was sold for a calm $1 million (did you detect my giant eye roll?) Surprisingly, the previous owners were a couple from Long Island, NY, who came into ownership of the car after purchasing a storage unit at a blind auction for just $100 (no eye roll here). 

Side note, if James Bond didn’t need to rust-proof his underwater submarine missile-firing babe magnet, you definitely don’t need to rust-proof your Tesla, fancy pants.

The “Iron”-y of Rust-Proofing (Ba Da Ching!)

Undercoating your Tesla to protect against erosion is actually 100% contradictory.

Rather than protecting the exterior of your car against the combination of oxygen and moisture in the air, rust-proofing will actually seal that deadly duo right into your vehicle, hastening any deterioration of the body. 

Statistic

Believe it or not, rust is an expensive and common problem for drivers in the U.S. in the past 5 years, 22 million drivers reported rust problems caused by salt and other deicing compounds. 

According to AAA

How To Prevent Rust on Your Tesla

There are many other practical ways to stop rust from damaging your Tesla that are more cost-effective and long-lasting. Maintaining the following will help keep corrosion at bay: 

  • Wash your car regularly. This might seem overly simple, but taking your car out for a bath prevents those additional substances mentioned earlier from enhancing the rusting process. This is especially important if you live in an area where salt is frequently used for deicing the roads. 
  • Make paint or chip repairs. If you notice your exterior paint job beginning to give up the ghost, you’ll want to take care of that as soon as possible. Chipping paint leaves metal parts of the car further exposed to the elements, making it easier for rust to form. 

On a somewhat related note, would you like to find out What Is a Clear Bra for Tesla? I wrote a detailed article with the best options to choose from. Check it out!

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Is Rust Harmful to Cars?

Rust is harmful in many ways. It can compromise the structure of your car, cause leaks, and even eat away at the engine. For more information about rust damage, check out this video here:

Do Newer Cars Rust? 

Rust is not a significant concern for cars manufactured within the last 10 years. Cars today come with preventative measures against rust, including galvanized steel and zinc coatings.

EV Speedy’s Take

As specified in this article, DON’T DO IT!

If you decide to rust-proof your Tesla, you will lose considerable value and potentially void a few warranties on paint as well.

You have many world-class alternatives to choose from! Ceramic Coatings and PPFs are getting extremely popular, especially among Tesla owners. They are also getting better and cheaper as the competition heats up. These methods will also be covered and no warranties will be voided. Be wise, you don’t even have to compromise!


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Erwin Meyer
Erwin Meyer

Thanks for visiting evspeedy.com. The goal of this site is to be a helpful resource for Tesla and EV owners as this is where my passion lies. I was a TSLA shareholder before the hype and still am. I also believe in Tesla’s speedy mission to accelerate the world to a sustainable future.