What is Blinker Fluid? – Is Blinker Fluid real?

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Just like your engine oil, blinker fluid is important for the long lifespan of your vehicle’s blinkers. Blinker fluid provides the proper lubrication and electrical insulation that they need to function correctly. 

If you forget to check your blinker fluid you may find that your blinkers start to blink fast when they are turned on. Or even worse, the blinkers stop working at all. If this happens just topping up your blinker fluid isn’t going to work. You are going to need to get a blinker unit transplant at your local blinker specialist. 

Blinker specialist……sorry, I better stop here because I am having too much fun. 

Is blinker fluid real? Simply put, no brake fluid is not real. The history of blinker fluid can be traced back to a joke that has been played on many people over the years in the automotive industry. It is known as the blinker fluid prank.

I have fallen for similar jokes, if you want to find out my story, it is at the bottom of this page.

So what is blinker fluid?

The term “blinker fluid” began as a joke in the auto repair shop that would be pulled on new employees. Let me tell you, the people that work in the automotive industry like to pull practical jokes on everyone!

Today the most common time you hear of this joke being used is from parents who are looking at pulling a practical joke on their children.

silver car with the rear turn signal turned on

There are countless children that have been asked by their parents to go in and buy blinker fluid on what many call a fool’s errand. The kids, assuming their parents are trying to improve their self sufficiency, will go into the auto parts store and ask the person at the desk if they have any blinker fluid.

The person who is working at the auto parts store will ask them to clarify if they want to buy blinker fluid. After answering yes the blinker fluid joke can go two ways. First the auto parts stores can tell the kinds that they have fallen victim to the blinker fluid joke.  

The best result is if the person at the parts store has been in the industry for a long time will know that they are on a fool’s errand. They may understand that a joke is being played on the person asking and continue the joke. They may tell the person that they are out of stock and they should check a store across town.

Is blinker fluid needed for a car?

Blinker fluid is not real, so therefore it is not needed. 

Sometimes people can get the idea that blinker fluid is real when the blinker lights or tail light of their vehicle starts to fill up with water. Some people assume that is what the blinker fluid is. 

This is caused by a damaged seal. If a seal becomes damaged in your lights it will allow moisture to accumulate and build up inside of your light. This is simply water and not blinker fluid. A small drill bit can create a drain hole to ensure this water drains correctly. 

A car’s blinker operates with the electrical system of your vehicle. A turn signals bulbs is a light that operates when there is a power and ground sent to the bulb. By sending a on/off signal to the blinker bulb it can be turned on and off quickly which makes it blink.

There are no moving parts in your turn signals bulbs that require any type of fluid to lubricate them or cool them.

Where Do I Buy Blinker Fluid?

Image of an empty jog of blinker fluid

Maybe your husband or wife, or possibly mom or dad asked you to go buy some blinker fluid. While we know that blinker fluid is not real, what if we want to play along with the joke. The internet comes to the rescue here, with todays great pranksters we now have the ability to buy blinker fluid. Take a look and see how cheap it really is to fool the ones who are trying to fool you!

Why does my car have washer fluid nozzles?

Some vehicles have headlights that are equipped with washer fluid nozzles and wiper blades. Do not be confused, this is not headlight fluid or turn signal fluid. The nozzles on the headlights are designed to have the fluid sprays on them to keep them clean of dirt and debris.

Keeping the headlights clean is an important part of automotive maintenance and increases your safety. Clean headlights increase your vision at night because your headlights are not obscured by dirt.

What fluids are real car fluids?

There are many different types of real fluids that your vehicle is equipped with. Take a look at the list below to see the important fluid that your vehicle may use, check the owner’s manual of your vehicle to see exactly which fluids your vehicle takes:

Motor oil

Motor oil or engine oil is used to keep the engine lubricated. There are many different types of engine oil that are used in modern engines. Your owner’s manual will help you identify which type of engine oil your vehicle uses.

Engine Coolant

Coolant is used to cool your engine. It absorbs the heat from the engine and releases the heat through the cooling system preventing the engine from overheating.

Transmission fluid

Transmission fluid is used to lubricate and cool the internal components of the transmission of your vehicle.

Brake fluid

Brake fluid is used to transfer the braking system pressure from your brake pedal to the brakes to slow down your vehicle.

Hydraulic fluid

Hydraulic fluid or power steering fluid is used in your steering system. It allows the system to create pressure and use this to make turning the steering wheel easier.

Windshield washer fluid, sometimes referred to as washer fluid

Not to be confused with your car’s blinker fluid. Windshield washer fluid is the most common fluid that you will top up on your vehicle when you have an empty bottle. The washer fluid is used along with the windshield wipers to clean the windshield when it gets dirty.

Differential fluid

This fluid is used for lubricating the differential components of your vehicle. The differential is the axle that transfers power to your wheels to propel you forward.

There may be other fluids that your vehicle uses that are the most common that you will come across. If you need any more information on what fluids your vehicle uses, check out your owners manual or an online service manual that will guide you in picking the right fluids.

Blinker fluid is used as an ongoing joke

Blinker fluid is not the only joke used in the automotive industry. For someone that is new in the automotive industry be ready for some practical jokes. Blinker fluid, a box of spot welds, and even Bluetooth welders have fooled many apprentices over the years. 

I have personally been caught with one of these jokes. Mine was the keys to the basement. 

Being young and naïve I was not aware that there wasn’t a basement in all buildings. As I was looking for a tool, a fellow mechanic told me to look in the basement. He told me I would need to go ask the service manager for the key as it is normally locked. 

I strutted into the service managers office and asked for the key to the basement. He asked what I meant, I explained it a second time, still not catching on. He calmly and without even a grin told me that the key is kept in the owner of the dealerships office. The door was in his office and that was why the key was kept there. 

Again I went to the store owner’s door, nervous as I generally never ventured into the front office of the dealership. I repeated my question, “Do you have the keys for the basement?”. He was generally confused as I explained myself and what I was looking for. This is when he realized they were playing an elaborate joke on me. 

It was at that point I realized what happened. My walk of shame back to the service department found many across the dealership laughing at my experience. It was funny after all. 

Please do not feel bad for me, because I may have passed it onto the next generation of mechanics coming into our shop. Over the next 20 years of my career I played many similar jokes on other unsuspecting apprentices like myself. It is a right of passage to have one of these jokes played on you. 

So as you can see, I think we have covered everything there is to know about the blinker fluid prank that has happened to many people over the years. We understand that jokes happen and want you to know where this fool’s errand came from and the fake answers that you may see all over the internet.

Hopefully now you can answer the simple question, what is blinker fluid. So the next time someone asks you to go into the store and buy some blinker fluid. You will be able to educate them on the history of blinker fluid and prevent this common joke from being passed on to other drivers. 

John Morris
John Morrishttps://autoknowit.com
John Morris is the technical editor for AutoKnowIt.com. His years of experience in automotive repair as well as an automotive professor have prepared him to ensure that even the most technical information is accurate and concise at all times.

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