Tesla Cybertruck turns into world's most expensive brick after car wash

Bulletproof? Is it waterproof? Ts&Cs say: 'Failure to put Cybertruck in Car Wash Mode may result in damage'

The perils of turning cars into computers were laid bare by a hapless Cybertruck owner who claimed his ride was rendered an $80,000 "paperweight" by something as benign as a wash.

Now, we tech-savvy people are well aware that computers and water do not mix. But cars get dirty, and when you've tossed your life savings into a Cybertruck, you'd probably want to keep it looking immaculate.

At the same time, we'd hesitate to hose off our motherboard even if the cat hair level was approaching critical mass. But when your car is a computer, what are your options?

As noted by motoring zine Jalopnik, a TikTok user going by @captian.ad regaled his followers with a tale of how he took his Cybertruck to the beach with his dogs.

What sounds like a lovely day out soon turned to sorrow, however, as on the way back he stopped off at a car wash to rid his luxury whip of sand. For most drivers, this sounds like a perfectly reasonable course of action.

He then parked up in his garage where the silver monstrosity seemed to breathe its last. The screen in the central console, which is absolutely essential to operating the Cybertruck because it hosts critical information like speed and rear view, went black as pitch and wouldn't respond.

Our hero, probably feeling the same sort of panic one experiences when a computer dies mid-use, followed the Tesla guidelines for a reboot only to be met by a disconcerting and electrical "pop." Following this reset, he said that the Tesla "T" is supposed to come up on the screen and all should be well. That did not happen.

Everything else, including the rear seat screens, appeared to function fine. It's only that driving the Cybertruck without that console would be terribly unsafe. The owner lamented that he's "two and a half months in and 3,400 miles" (5,471 km).

There is a happier ending, however, as another video explains that he opened a service ticket with Tesla. The following morning, he went to collect some possessions from the truck and found that the beast had been roused from its death-like stupor.

He also received a call from Tesla to check on him. The advisor said that "it is a known issue in the Cybertruck that when you do a screen reset, instead of resetting in the standard two minutes, it takes five hours."

So when he had initiated that hard reset before, it had taken half the night to go through. That's another issue with computers that, once upon a time, didn't trouble cars – software bugs. The fault was registered as a complaint and "hopefully it gets addressed in a future software patch," the owner said.

"But five hours to reset a computer? And this is new hardware, hardware 4. All I wanna know is, where do I get that computer so I can take it to work? 'Sorry, boss, I'm resetting my computer. I'll get to that in a little bit,'" he joked.

Meanwhile, the story was also picked up on Tesla CEO Elon Musk's other business empire, where an X user plumbed the depths of the Cybertruck owner's manual, which routinely turns up comedy gold.

In this instance, attention was drawn to a line saying: "CAUTION Failure to put Cybertruck in Car Wash Mode may result in damage (for example, to the charge port or windshield wipers). Damage caused by car washes is not covered by the warranty."

The fact that the Cybertruck even has such a mode is, frankly, ludicrous. There was also the perplexing warning: "Do not wash in direct sunlight." Answers on a postcard, please. It is not clear whether the owner heeded either of these instructions.

It puts us in mind of Cybertruck owners reporting rust forming on the car's exterior. Despite the commonly held belief that the stainless steel body would be immune to corrosion, Tesla's documentation once again served only to highlight the Cybertruck's weaknesses, such as the lack of a clear coat.

"To prevent damage to the exterior, immediately remove corrosive substances (such as grease, oil, bird droppings, tree resin, dead insects, tar spots, road salt, industrial fallout, etc.)," it says. "Do not wait until Cybertruck is due for a complete wash. If necessary use denatured alcohol to remove tar spots and stubborn grease stains, then immediately wash the area with water and a mild, non-detergent soap to remove the alcohol."

There's also the owner who took his Cybertruck off-roading, and broke it, leaving many wondering what Tesla's latest and greatest can actually do.

Musk once touted the Cybertruck as "literally bulletproof" but whether it's even waterproof seems open to some debate.

The billionaire and his controversially shaped truck aren't having the best of times lately. Yesterday the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recalled all Cybertrucks due to faulty accelerator pedals, a problem that first emerged earlier in the week. ®

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