While testing a Cybertruck during the popular King of the Hammers off-road race weekend in California, Unplugged Performance, the popular shop that builds upgraded Teslas, encountered a surprise failure. According to the driver, Craig Coker, the truck suffered a broken steering bolt on its rear suspension. That might sound minor, but it prevented the steering wheel from staying straight when driving forward. That means Coker had one choice: drive in reverse. It took about an hour to traverse six miles of off-road trails before reaching camp for repairs.
Images posted on Twitter (shown below) showed the Cybertruck stopped with its rear wheel at an awkward angle, completely removed while undergoing repairs, or with a tow strap acting as a temporary toe link to help it limp through the desert. It didn’t help that a decal reading “Invincible,” the name for Unplugged Performance’s line of modified Cybertruck parts, was plastered across its side.
It’s unclear whether the incident reflects any quality issues with the vehicle itself. In a text message, Coker remained positive about the experience.
“Cybertruck exceeded my expectations in many ways,” Coker said.
The bolt is a stock part on the truck connected to its rear steering feature. The vehicle in question featured modified fenders, a prototype Unplugged Performance sway bar, beadlock wheels and 35-inch Yokohama Geolander all-terrain tires, according to the company. There were no other changes to its suspension.
Coker said the issue will be fully diagnosed in the days to come. Unplugged Performance posted a statement on Twitter (below) saying, “That one bolt broke is not concerning to us at all, and we wouldn’t hesitate to push even harder next time.”
Failures are not uncommon on this terrain. The Johnson Valley OHV area, where King of the Hammers is held, is known for being unforgiving. It is not unusual to see even well-prepped vehicles broken down or with punctured tires on the side of its numerous trails. Coker said the Cybertruck had successfully tackled sand, mud and rocky terrain before the incident occurred, backed up by videos that show him traversing steep inclines and attacking sand dunes at high speed. Another private Cybertruck owner accompanied the group and has so far reported no troubles.
Still, the Cybertruck will continue to face scrutiny from skeptics and the off-roading community. The Tesla website touts the truck as being “durable and rugged enough to go anywhere,” giving the all-electric pickup weighing more than 6,500 pounds a lot to live up to.
Unplugged Performance has promised a video recap of all the off-roading action to come. In the meantime, the company has expressed that its testing is far from over.
“Would I take CT out again to [King of the Hammers]?” Coker said in a text. “Hell yes.”