Home Diagnosis and TroubleshootingMaintenance and Servicing Blinker Fluid – Don’t Be The Butt Of The Joke

Blinker Fluid – Don’t Be The Butt Of The Joke

by Jordan Harris
Blinker Fluid

It is always fun when a good prank comes together. This is only true if you are not on the victim’s end. If you do not know anything about cars, this is one of the classic pranks that someone can pull on you. Nobody likes to be the butt of the joke. So what is the prank with blinker fluid?

The blinker fluid itself is the prank. Whether it is called blinker fluid or headlight fluid, it is all the same. An imaginary liquid that supposedly fuels the headlight or the turn signals of the car.

This is an age-old trick that is pulled on novice car drivers by someone who knows more about cars. If you are a new driver, you can easily be caught off guard by this is a silly prank. Or you could be running a “fool’s errand” for someone you know.

Obviously, the turn signals work on electricity and not on any kind of fluids. With many different types of fluids that go into a car, you could easily be overwhelmed, and feel that blinker fluid is not that far-fetched.

Blinker Fluid Prank

The blinker fluid prank is pretty simple actually. First, you find someone who does not know much about cars or maintenance. Since cars need various fluids to be topped off for functionality, most people do not suspect a thing when they hear blinker fluid.

There are a few ways this prank is pulled. The most common way is to run someone on a “fool’s errand”. This is when someone is sent to search for some blinker fluid. Sending them to buy a specific amount like a quart, makes it even hilarious.

Another way this is a prank is pulled is by gifting someone who bought a new car with some blinker fluid. If you are wondering how to buy something that does not exist, everything is on Amazon, and you can buy blinker fluid as well. Gifting someone with a bottle of blinker fluid or a coupon to buy some themselves is another funny gag.

The existence of blinker fluid is believable now more than ever.

Blinker Fluid Prank Explained

It is hard to put a date on when the blinker fluid hoax originated. But it is said to be existent since cars were invented. But the idea is believed to be originated from stagnant headlight water.

The prank piqued interest in 2004. It has been on the rise ever since. Even though you would expect that the number of people who fall for this prank would drop down with time, that hasn’t been the case. More and more people fall into this trap lately. And it is hilarious.

The actual word appeared in the urban dictionary as far back as 2005. This proves that the gag has been around for decades, possibly.

Origins Of The Blinker Fluid Prank

Origin stories are not exactly accurate, in the case of this prank. But here is a possible origin.

In older cars, the seals around the headlights weren’t tight enough to keep water away. Even in some newer cars water seems to find its way inside the lights. So when water finds its way inside your light, it looks almost like a fish tank half full.

So as a joke people used to mention “you should think about topping off your fluids”. Similarly, when the water stays stagnant for years, it starts to turn green. When this happens, “hey, you need to change the blinker fluid, it is turning green!”.

How To Remove Water From Your Lights

Water finding its way inside your lights is not that uncommon. It can be really unpleasant to see water shaking around your lights. You won’t be able to get the best out of your lights when it is submerged in water. If water is clogged in the rear brake lights, that can turn into a safety hazard. If the car behind you can not see that you are slowing down or stopping, a crash can be inevitable.

So how to get the water out of your lights? There is a belief that you would have to drill the outer shell to actually remove the water. In reality, it can end up doing more bad than good. Ther is a more practical and safe way to remove water from your headlights. The procedure doesn’t differ drastically between the different lights of your car.

A dirty headlight lens can dull the light cast by your headlight. So for your own safety, you need to get them cleaned (once you know how to clean headlight lens).

Procedure (Definitely Not Using Blinker Fluids)

How To Remove Water From Your Lights (The Right Way, No Blinker Fluid Required)
Step 1 Before getting started you should park your car in a secure space and turn off the engine.
Step 2 Follow this up by disconnecting your battery. This is done to ensure safety. Electricity and water do not go well together. To avoid getting shocked, it is best to neutralize the battery out of the equation.
Step 3 All the lights are held up by screws. Removing them should allow you to disassemble the lights.
Step 4 If you are working on the headlights, you should be able to access them by popping the hood. If you can’t find the path to access those screws, the owner’s manual will come in handy.
Step 5 Now you should be able to disconnect the wiring that runs to the headlights. Keep in mind how it was assembled. You need to put it back together later. Taking a few pics could end up being a lifesaver.
Step 6 Now you can remove the headlight lens from the assembly, releasing all the water. Use this opportunity to clean the lens.
Step 7 Now all you have to do is put it all back together.

What Is A Blinker

Now that you know that blinkers are not powered by or require any fluid, how exactly does a blinker light work?

Just like any other light in your car such as the headlight or the brake lights the turn signals are just as important. They portray your intentions to turn, helping everyone around you to acknowledge that decision and drive safely. Whether you are changing lanes, turning a corner, or are pulling over, letting others know about your intentions, drastically reduces the possibility of an accident.

Turn signals require electrical power in order to illuminate the turn signal light bulbs. Just to emphasize, electricity, not blinker fluid. The circuit connecting the bulb and the power source goes through a switch. Every time you use the turn signal, the appropriate circuit is completed and the specific light illuminates.

Now the circuit is completed, we have to look into the blinking pattern. The rhythmic blinking is present to attract more attention to the light. Thus anyone will instantly notice when the turn signals are working.

This rhythmic blinking pattern is achieved by routing the power through a module that sends pulses of power to the lights instead of a steady stream. This is module is commonly referred to as a flasher.

When it’s time to switch off the turn signals the switch is closed, breaking the completer circuit. In most modern cars, the turn is automatically detected, and the circuit is broken. If not the process should be done manually.

What Fluids Does Your Car Actually Need

Even though your car does not require blinker fluid, there are many other fluids that your car needs to run. And they are real. These fluids are essential to keep your car functioning. And they need to be topped off regularly. Here are the fluids that your car needs.

1. Engine Oil

Engine oil is probably the most important fluid in your car. Without it, the car will cease to function. Similar to fuel the engine also depends on engine oil to function. With time engine oil has evolved. Earlier the only available option was natural oils. Now engine oil is engineered to make sure your engine is capable of operating as soon as possible.

Blinker light fluid

The required amount of engine oil changes varies from car to car. Most cars would need an oil change every 3000 to 5000 miles. But with the help of modern engineering, engine oil is capable of lasting up to 10,000 miles. There are few car models that burn excess engine oil. So, you should be ready to top it off whenever your oil runs out.


The engine oil is the lifeblood of the engine. And it serves several functions, that keep the engine in working condition for a longer period of time.

The primary function of engine oil is to reduce the friction inside the engine block. With all that metal inside, if friction is present, those parts would grind themselves to death. The engine oil makes sure to coat all the huge metal parts, ensuring they run smoothly.

Secondly, it acts as a coolant. Keeping the engine at optimal temperature and the normal temperature of a car is crucial. An overheated engine could literally, blow. So how does engine oil work as a coolant? Simple, It is an insulator. It acts as a barrier to conduction through the metal components of the engine.

It also cleans your engine. Your engine can pick up a lot of residue by burning fuel inside. The high viscous engine oil drags all the dirt and debris away from the engine block. Thus keeping the engine clean.

Finally, it prevents the engine from rusting. This ought to give you an idea of how important engine oil is to your car.

2. Transmission Fluid

Unlike engine oil, which has the primary task of lubricating the engine, the transmission fluid is in charge of 2 primary tasks. This is lubricating the transmission and acts as a hydraulic fluid that helps facilitate gear shifts. Without this, your car will not be capable of shifting gears smoothly. So again, another crucial fluid for your car.

So your engine oil needs to be topped off regularly. But with the transmission fluid that is not the case. The stock fluid should last up to 100,000 miles. Granted, this varies, and some vehicles need a change much sooner than this. Possible between 30,000 to 60,000 miles.

If you do go past this mark, you would need to top this fluid as the number 1 priority.


This fluid acts as a lubricant as well. Wherever your car has moving metal components, friction is a hazard. So fluids are used to lubricate these components and reduce friction as much as possible. The transmission fluid also helps lubricate and reduce the friction for the metal components inside the transmission unit.

The second main function of the transmission fluid is acting as a hydraulic fluid. Fluids do not compress at all, and they can flow, unlike metals. So filling places with fluids rather than metals helps transfer the force between 2 areas easily. This job is carried out by the transmission fluid while shifting gears.

Finally, the transmission fluid acts as a coolant as well. And the way this task is carried out is similar to engine oil.

3. Brake Fluid

The brake fluid is a type of hydraulic fluid. The fluid turns the force applied at the pedal to pressure, amplifies it, and then is delivered to the brake pads. when you apply your foot to the brake pedal, brake fluid transfers this force into pressure to the front and rear brakes and stops the vehicle.

Brake fluid has such a high boiling point. This is because it reaches high temperatures when the brakes are engaged. If brake fluid does evaporate the consequences would be deadly. This is because vapor can compress, unlike liquids. If compression occurs, the force will not be transmitted, and the brakes will not function.

Brake fluids tend to last for about 2 years. But they do tend to last longer. There are methods to test the state of brake fluid. Such as a test can be employed to figure out whether swapping brake fluids is necessary.

4. Coolant

Coolant is a mixture of distilled water and ethylene glycol. This is also referred to as antifreeze. The primary function of the coolant is to absorb the heat produced by the engine.

The coolant is administered from a reservoir in the radiator. When the engine is running, the coolant continuously circulates through the engine and back through the radiator. Inside the radiator, the coolant is cooled down by the constant airflow.

Though the coolant is mainly used to cool down the engine, it also helps to keep the engine from freezing. Thus the name, antifreeze. You can’t ideally use plain water as your coolant. It is fairly capable of maintaining the engine temperature. But during cold climates, if the temperature goes below freezing, water will freeze. But the antifreeze solution will not.

If the water inside your engine freezes, the damage occurred is often irreversible. This is because the volume of ice is higher than water. This expansion will damage your engine. Therefore it is best to use antifreeze instead of water as a coolant.

The reason for changing the coolant is their acidity. The acidity will increase with time. And this increase in acidity could damage your gasket seals. Rotting your engine from your inside. Just to be on the safe side it is best to change the coolant at least every 2 or 3 years.

5. Steering Fluid

Power steering fluid is an integral component of a vehicle’s power steering pump operation. The power steering fluid is stored in a reservoir under the steering column. The fluid performs a variety of functions.

One of the main purposes of the steering fluid is lubricating the system. From the reservoir, it goes into a pump unit. The pump unit pressurizes the power steering fluid and propels it through the entire power steering system.

This also acts as a hydraulic fluid. This flowers through the system providing hydraulic or fluid pressure. This fluid pressure amplifies the force given to the steering wheel decreasing the effort needed to turn the road wheels. Thus making power steering possible.

Blinker Fluid Extra

Finally, it also takes part in reducing the friction of the power steering unit, and as a result, reduces the heat of the unit as well. The reduced friction also reduces the wear of the metal components. This allows them to last much longer.

The power steering fluid should last for 30,000 to 60,000 miles. This is a relatively inexpensive fluid. It is not that hard to replace it either. So replacing it is not a huge hassle.

6. Other Fluids

There are a few more ‘real’ fluids that need to be maintained in your car as well. These include the air conditioning refrigerant and the windshield washer fluid. Though they do not hold the importance of the liquids above they prove to be useful on occasions.

Having these maintained should not be ignored. These fluids, tend to play an important role in the safety and comfort of a drive. These 2 factors make these fluids just as important.

If you have a diesel engine, you would have to worry about one more fluid. And this is the diesel exhaust fluid. Deisel conduces to produce more harmful exhaust fumes than gasoline. The addition of exhaust fluid controls the exhaust gases to an extent.

With all these real fluids you are sure to have your hands full with maintenance. The good news is that you do not need to worry about blinker fluid.

Other Fake Car Products

The famous blinker fluid is just one of the fake products used to prank people into running fool’s errands. Just to be on the safe side it is best to know other products that are known to serve the same purpose.

One of the common fake items used in a working environment is the left-handed wrench. This easily fools people. The mechanics or a DIY repair procedure creates the best environment to pull this prank. Similar to the left-handed wrench, the left-handed screwdriver also proves to be worthy of a prank.

Ever heard of the muffler bearing. This is another popular product. There are tons of other imaginary products that are used to fool people. A bucket of steam, a canooter valve, headlight fluid, and elbow grease are a few imaginary items that do not exist.

So keep your ears cocked for these imaginary terms so that you do not fall for these pranks in the future. Having a bit of car knowledge will also help. It is not that hard to make up new words that sound like a real technical item.

What Happens If You Ask For These Items At A Shop?

Nowadays more and more people are trying out these pranks. Hence a lot of people are being fooled. So there is a good chance that the person at the counter has encountered such requests.

Since many car mechanics and auto parts stores are familiar with this, they sometimes play along. Dragging you deeper into the hole.

So don’t start fishing for these imaginary products. Stick to what you know and what is real. That is the only way to save yourself from being the butt of the joke.

Summary – Blinker Fluid

The bottom one is that blinker fluid is a hoax. And a good one at that. It has been around for 15+ years, and it almost works every single time. One of the main reasons for this is that there are a lot of fluids that need to be maintained in your car. With the likes of steering fluid and brake fluid, the idea of a blinker fluid doesn’t seem far-fetched.

Whether you have been pranked or just trying to stay safe, the only way to not get tricked is to be educated in the field. The blinker light fluid is not the only imaginary product used to trick people. There are many other similar products and many more can be easily made up.

If you are trying to prank someone, this is no doubt a hilarious prank. If you choose the right person, succeeding with this prank is almost guaranteed.

Ultimately there are a lot of fluids that you have to maintain in your car. Do not worry about blinker fluid or any other fake fluids. But do worry about the real ones and keep maintenance up to date.

Frequently Asked Questions On Blinker Fluids

Here are some of the most popular frequently asked questions concerning blinker fluids…

Is Blinker Fluid A Thing

Technically, blinker fluid does exist, and you could buy a bucket load of them online. Just search for blinker fluid on Amazon, and you’ll see a bunch of them. The most popular blinker fluid there even has more than 3,000 positive ratings! Obviously, while it does technically exist, blinker fluids aren’t real. There’s no need for them to exist, nor do they do anything. In fact, almost all of these ‘blinker fluids’ you see on Amazon are just empty bottles. They make a good gag, but some still fall victim.

What Is Blinker Fluid

The blinker fluid prank originated a while back. In older cars, the seals around the lights (headlights, taillights, and turn signals) aren’t always as tightly sealed. Therefore, it’s not uncommon to find rainwater and moisture seeping into the lights, and looking like a half-empty fish tank. The idea of the blinker fluid came about as folks who knew about cars told those who are unaware, that their lights are running low on fluids. So, they’d tell them that they should go out and top-up with some blinker fluid.

Blinker Fluid For Sale

Obviously, if you head into an auto parts store, dealership, workshop, or any other automotive establishment, and asked, you may be laughed at. They’ll definitely think you’ve been fooled by someone for thinking that blinker fluids exist. That doesn’t mean that you can’t buy one, though. Go online, to a dollar store, or perhaps certain auto parts stores, and you’ll find plenty of blinker fluids for sale. Some of them are so well designed, that you’d think it’s a real bottle of fluids, making it the perfect gag for someone.

Headlight Fluid

Headlight fluid is the same running joke as blinker fluid. But instead of specialized for your turn signals, with its orangey color, headlights fluids are supposed to be whitish or yellowish in tone. The premise is the same… Your headlights are flooded by rainwater or moisture leaking in. But, to someone who might not know about cars, they might think that your headlights are instead leaking their headlight fluids out. So, they should probably head out and buy a bottle of headlight fluid. They have these gag items for sale on Amazon and elsewhere, too.

Blinker Fluid Coupon

A larger bottle of blinker fluids on Amazon costs around $10. Of course, and if you don’t mind putting off your prank for a little while, you could wait until a promotion or deal comes around. You could even find these sold in certain dollar stores (they’re a smaller bottle, though) or in larger supermarkets like Walmart. Of course, don’t expect to find anything once you open that bottle. Most blinker fluid gag items are empty. So, I guess you could re-use it as a pretty decent jug or canister for something else.

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