The Tesla Cybertruck rethinks everything, for better or worse. That's obvious just by looking at it. From its blindingly shiny bodywork that's all angles to its ultra-long windshield wiper, there's nothing else like it. It's also the only pickup with aero covers on its wheels, ones that jut out over the sidewalls of its specially made Goodyears. It's a unique concept, that's for sure, but it's causing an issue that anyone could have seen coming.
Those little rubber protrusions are chafing the tire sidewall with every revolution.
Brian Reese is the CEO of T Sportline, a Tesla aftermarket manufacturer that's already handled a list of Cybertrucks. The company posted a video to YouTube showing one with "a couple thousand miles" and its 33.5-inch tires are already being chewed up by the aero covers. They aren't being sliced to pieces, mind you, and there aren't any visible gashes, but the wear is undeniable.
It happens at the bottom of the tire when the sidewall bulges slightly due to the weight of the truck. There's very little clearance between the aero cover and the tire—only millimeters wide—so it's no surprise that they're making contact. It's also made worse when the truck hits a bump or leans into a corner.
Reese measured the rub on one Cybertruck and found it to be 120 thousandths of an inch, which admittedly isn't a ton. Multiply it over the life of the tire, though, and the results could be cause for real concern. That's why current Cybertruck owners should pop off their aero covers. I seriously doubt there's much of a range penalty, so it's not like they have anything to lose there.
You might assume people know the importance of a tire's sidewall, but judging by the YouTube comments, that's ill-advised. There's a concerning amount of talk from people who say sidewalls aren't worth worrying about. Sure, they don't make contact with the road, but they're still integral to a tire's structure. The last thing you want is for them to be worn thin, more susceptible to gouges from road debris or rocks off-road. As it is, the Cybertruck already has enough self-inflicted wounds when it comes to four-wheeling.
The good news for folks waiting for their Cybertruck to be delivered is that the aero covers are allegedly being redesigned. That means the pickups will be shipped with just the wheels for now, as several users on the Cybertruck Owners Forum have seen so far. The Cybertruck-specific Goodyears will still be standard issue, and it sounds like the aero covers won't go away forever, so the tire's unique sidewall moldings won't just be for show.
This is far from a critical design flaw, but it's a somewhat obvious one that proves some never-before-seen features are that way for a reason.
Got a tip or question for the author? Contact them directly: email@example.com