Are Teslas Rust Resistant? What Tesla Is Doing About It

We are so used to regular cars gathering up rust over a few years. When it comes to Teslas and electric cars, we somehow expect something different just because the cars’ inner workings are different. But what about the alloys and the materials used? Do Teslas have rust issues?

Teslas aren’t immune to rusting but they hold up pretty well if the weather conditions are just right. Every Tesla that is produced is mainly made from Aluminum. This makes Teslas very rust resistant, but nothing is 100% rust proof.

Although there are rare cases that you’d have to deal with any Tesla rust issues, it is a good idea to inform yourself well enough to become well prepared. Check it out!

Some Teslas Use Cold-Rolled Steel That Is Less Susceptible to Rust

One of my Canadian friends recently bought a used Model 3 and was bragging about how little rust it had. This is a big deal, considering how much salt goes on Toronto roads in the winter.

It’s not that Teslas are made of some magical space-age metal that doesn’t rust. They’re built with high-quality materials that are less susceptible to rusting in the first place.

The steel used in the Cybertrucks’s frames is high-strength, cold-rolled steel. This type of steel is less likely to rust than traditional hot-rolled steel. They also use corrosion-resistant paint that adds an extra layer of protection against the elements.

Tesla also uses aluminum on its higher-end models. This material doesn’t rust, but it can corrode. However, the aluminum used in Teslas is anodized, which creates a protective oxide layer that resists corrosion.

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Some Teslas May Be More Prone to Rust in Humid Areas

Tesla does not manufacture every part of its cars in-house. While Tesla has a decent quality control process, there’s always the possibility that a part from a supplier is susceptible to rust.

This was the case for one Model S owner who lives in Florida. After only two years, his car’s upper control arms started to rust. The guy asked Tesla about this, and they responded that it was just a cosmetic issue. He used a mix of rust converter and rust paint to fix it himself.

Here is a Youtube video of how he did it:

This Rust-Oleum Spray and 3X Rust Converter, both available on Amazon, would work for this problem. The rust converter helps get rid of the rust, and both sprays add an extra layer of protection. 

While this may not be a common problem, it’s something to be aware of if you live in a humid area. 

Tesla ModelParts that may rust/corrode
Model XDoors, spoiler
Model SReinforcement bars, doors, and suspension
Model Y/3Trunk, body, and doors
Here’s a chart showing the most likely Tesla parts to corrode or rust.

The Tesla Model S Is the Hardest Hit by Rust Issues

You’d expect a car that costs over $100,000 to be immune to rust, but that’s not the case. In fact, the Model S seems to be the hardest hit by rust issues.

This is likely because the Model S has a lot of exposed metal on the body. The front and rear fascias are aluminum, but the car’s frames are mostly steel. This makes the vehicle more susceptible to rusting, especially in areas where salt is used on the roads.

One Model S owner in Illinois had so much trouble with rust that he sold his car and switched to a Tesla Model X. He reported that the problem was so bad that Tesla refused to do anything about it.

While this is an extreme example, it shows that even Teslas high-end cars are not immune to rusting. This is why you want to make sure you take care of your car and regularly inspect it for rust.

Anyway, check out this related article that I wrote called: “Should I Rust-Proof My Tesla?”, It will give you further insight on this topic.

How To Prevent Your Tesla From Rusting

Now that we know that Teslas are not immune to rusting, let’s talk about how you can protect your car from this issue.

  • Wash your car regularly with soap and water. This will remove any dirt, salt, or other debris that could cause rust.
  • Dry your car completely after washing it. Water that’s left on the surface of your vehicle can cause rust.
  • Inspect your car regularly for any signs of rust. If you see any, take care of it immediately. The sooner you take care of the problem, the less damage it will do to your car.
  • Wax your car regularly. This will create a barrier between the paint and the environment, which will help prevent rust.

These simple tips will help keep your Tesla in tip-top shape and prevent rust from taking over.

Where To Look for Rust in Your Salvage or Submerged Tesla

There are a few key places to look for rust in your salvage or submerged Tesla. Here are some of them:

  • Under the car. If the vehicle is submerged in salt water, there will likely be rust on the car’s underside. I’m talking about the frame, suspension, and drivetrain. This is why it’s so important to have a professional inspect the vehicle before buying it.
  • The trunk. The Model 3, in particular, has a steel trunk that’s susceptible to rust. Staying on top of this issue can save you from disappointment.
  • The doors. The door frames and hinges are made of steel, so if the car was exposed to salt water, there’s a good chance that rust has formed. You can do this inspection yourself, but I recommend having a professional do it.
  • Reinforcement bars. These bars are located in the front and rear of the car and are made of unprotected steel. That makes them highly susceptible to rust. 

Random Fun Fact:

Rust is technically not a living thing, but it can spread like one. It is a type of corrosion that happens when iron or steel is exposed to oxygen and moisture. This causes the metal to oxidize or “rust.” Rust can spread quickly if it’s not taken care of, so it’s important to nip it in the bud as soon as you see it.

What Tesla Is Doing To Tackle the Rust Issue

It’s funny how Tesla uses their terms and conditions to get itself out of a sticky situation. In this case, they’re offering corrosion resistance advice to Model S and X owners who live in cooler climates, and then they add this in the same statement: “…corrosive damage that may not be covered by warranty.” What does this even mean? Do they cover any corrosion-related damage in the warranty?

Here’s what they’re suggesting:

“If you live in an area where roads are regularly treated with salt, we recommend that you take the following steps to help protect your vehicle:

Wash your car regularly with fresh water, then take the car for a short drive and apply brakes several times.” That’s it. Just wash it with water – no mention of soap or any other type of cleaning agent.

“Dry your car completely after washing it.” Again, this is pretty basic stuff. But it’s good to have a reminder.

However, the company has been working on a “secret sauce” to prevent rusting. This sauce is a special coating applied to the car during the manufacturing process. Tesla says this coating will protect the vehicle from rust, even in extreme conditions.

Did you know:

You can remove rust from your car with everyday household items like vinegar, baking soda, and aluminum foil. Just mix equal parts vinegar and water, then add a tablespoon of baking soda. Rub the mixture on the rusty area with a cloth or brush, then cover it with foil. Let it sit for an hour, then rinse it off. The rust should be gone!

Get Your Tesla Rust Checked Today

If you’re concerned about rust on your Tesla, the best thing you can do is get a rust check. This will help you identify any areas of the car that are susceptible to rusting.

You can take your car to a Tesla dealership or service center, and they will perform a complimentary inspection. If they find any rust, they will work with you to find a solution.

You can also have a professional inspection done. This is a good idea if you’re buying a used Tesla, as it will help you identify any potential problems.

Either way, getting a rust check is the best way to protect your investment and keep your car in tip-top shape.

Random Stat:

According to a study by Copilot, the average cost of repairing rust damage is between $400 and $2000. This is one more reason to get a rust check as soon as you suspect there may be an issue.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will Road Salt Corrode the Aluminum Body of Teslas?

Salt does not corrode aluminum. This is why so many boats and other vehicles that come in contact with salt water are made of aluminum.

How Safe Is Model S if It Is Made of Aluminum?

Aluminum might not be the most robust material, but Tesla’s engineering makes it surprisingly strong. Tests have shown that Model S is one of the safest cars on the road.

Check out these 20 great gift ideas for yourself or a Tesla fanboy.

Contact Us if you have any questions or queries.

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Erwin Meyer
Erwin Meyer

A renowned Tesla enthusiast, and successful entrepreneur, enlightens global audiences through his compelling EV narratives. Discover more about his electric journey on his About Me page. Venture to read Erwin's incredible story that's reshaping the future of motoring. Want to spark a conversation with Erwin? Visit his Contact page, and let’s electrify the world together.