It goes without saying that cars are extremely complicated with their highly advanced mechanical parts and even more complicated electronics. That makes even the basic maintenance go right over a beginner driver’s head, and even the most experienced drivers don’t know everything. But here we will discuss one part of that maintenance, that’s if that part exists, and that’s blinker fluid.
So, is blinker fluid real? Well, no, blinker fluid is not real. As a matter of fact, the blinkers use the same type of light bulb you will find throughout the car, and none of those use any kind of fluid, either.
So, you might be asking why people are talking about blinker fluid if it’s not real. Is it maybe a new technology that’s not out yet, is it an old technology that isn’t present on modern cars, or is it nothing more than a prank? Well, stick around as we will dive into everything there is to know about blinker fluid.
What Is Blinker Fluid and its History
Blinker fluid refers to a fluid you are supposed to put in your blinkers/flashers or indicators. The idea is that the blinkers require this fluid to work and that the fluid needs to be topped up periodically. However, the idea could also be that you need to replace the fluid. Well, in the beginning, we have already established that blinker fluid isn’t real, so what is the story behind it?
Well, the history of blinker fluid can be traced back to an innocent prank that, in most cases, boyfriends would pull on their girlfriends. So, what is a blinker fluid prank? Well, the prank is a simple one, stop in front of an auto parts store and ask your girl to go in and buy you some blinker fluid. And since everyone working even remotely close to vehicles knows blinker fluid isn’t real, the workers will naturally laugh.
The joke also reminds me of giving someone a bucket and asking him to get you some compressed air or girlfriends pulling a prank on boyfriends, telling them they got winter tire air for only $200. Just a heads up, winter and summer tire air doesn’t exist either. And now, if you are interested, you can find dozens of blinker fluid prank videos on YouTube or TikTok; there are some pretty funny and wholesome ones.
Is Blinker Fluid Real
Although we practically already answered to the question of is blinker fluid real, there is a bit more to add. Technically speaking, you can buy blinker fluid. Now I know that sounds contradictory, but the prank was so popular that people began making gag-blinker fluid containers. But of course, the containers are empty, and it’s just another way to prank someone. But the bottom line is blinker fluid isn’t real and doesn’t make any sense.
The blinkers in your car use the same type of halogen filament light bulb you might find in your home, in the headlights, reverse lights, brake lights, etc. And as you already know, those bulbs are not filled with any kind of fluid. There is, however, one difference, and that’s the color of the bulb. The blinker bulbs have amber-colored glass in most older cars, but again, it’s nothing to do with any type of fluid. And ultimately, that also means that questions like where does blinker fluid go, what cars use blinker fluid, or how to check blinker fluid are all impossible to answer.
Where Can I Buy Blinker Fluid
You can’t buy blinker fluid anywhere, but if you want to prank someone, you can buy the gag blinker fluid canisters, which come empty. And you can buy those on Amazon and some other major retailers. Funnily enough, you can choose between a wide variety of blinker fluid cans, from old-school metal containers to modern plastic ones which look like motor oil canisters, to different sizes, most of which are 16oz. And this prank will cost you roughly $10 to $15 on Amazon.
Which Car Fluids are Real
Although there are half a dozen different fluids in a car, sometimes more here, we will only list those which have “fluid” in their name so you can be safe to avoid these kinds of pranks in the future. So, if anyone tells you to go buy a fluid for a car that’s not listed below, chances are they are trying to pull a prank on you.
Transmission fluid is technically transmission oil, with basically the only difference being the thickness. Now, transmission fluid has much wider change intervals than engine oil, and often manufacturers will tell you that you don’t need to replace it at all. Moreover, transmission fluid isn’t something you can easily top up at home, so this one isn’t something the average driver will be buying, likely ever.
Brake fluid is essentially hydraulic fluid with anti-corrosion properties and is resilient to extremely high temperatures. The job of brake fluid is to transfer your brake pedal input to the brake calipers. In other words, the brake pedal pushes the brake fluid, which squeezes the brake caliper. Now, virtually all manufacturers recommend changing the brake fluid every 30,000 to 40,000 miles, so this is something you might come across every once in a while.
Power Steering Fluid
The power steering fluid is another hydraulic fluid, much like the previous brake fluid. And the job of power steering fluid is to transfer your steering wheel inputs to the wheels using power steering fluid which goes through a huge pressure pump. That system makes the steering in your car infinitely lighter to operate. Now, power steering fluid also has service intervals, but they are pretty far apart at every 50,000 to 80,000 miles. Still, it’s good to know what it is.
Windshield Washer Fluid
The windshield washer fluid is what the average driver is most familiar with and will be buying regularly. But in short, it’s the fluid that squirts onto your windshield when you pull the wiper stalk. It’s also worth mentioning that you should always use windshield washer fluid instead of water to avoid freezing and corrosion in the system. However, it doesn’t matter what type you use since you can’t go wrong with any of them.
Frequently Asked Questions—FAQs
Q: Why Is It Called a Blinker?
A blinker is called a blinker because of the simple matter that it’s a blinking light. Blinkers are also called turn signals, indicators, and flashers. Also, if all four blinkers are active, then they are called hazard lights or emergency lights. And the reason turn signals are blinking is simply to draw attention to them easier, and the amber color is there so you can distinguish the blinker from other lighting elements easier.
Q: What Is a Blinker in a Car?
A blinker in a car is also called a turn signal or an indicator, and that’s the amber/orange flashing light on each corner of a vehicle which you will see when a driver is turning or switching lanes. The blinkers are installed on every vehicle, and it’s mandatory for every driver to use them so that other road users can anticipate their move easier, which makes the roads much safer.
Q: What Are Blinker Lights Called?
Blinker lights are also called turn indicators, turn signals, flashers, directional signals, and trafficators. And when all four blinkers are on, then they are called hazard lights, emergency lights, four-way flashers, and warning lights.
Q: Is a Blinker a Vape?
No, a blinker is not a vape, but it does refer to a specific kind of vape hit. And that’s when you inhale a vape for the longest duration of time, the vape device will allow, and once you reach that point, the vape light will start blinking; hence a blinker hit.
Q: How Long Does a Blinker Last?
The blinker assembly will usually last a vehicle’s lifetime unless it’s physically damaged. However, the blinker light bulb will fail eventually, but how long it lasts depends on the bulb type. For example, conventional halogen blinker bulbs last up to 4,000 hours which for the average driver means at least 3-4 years. However, the modern LED blinkers will far outlast the halogen ones at 50,000 hours which translates to a decade at the very least.
So, in the end, blinker fluid is nothing more than a funny prank, and that’s ok because now that you know, you can pull the prank on someone else. And with gag blinker fluid cans readily available on Amazon, someone can even be the original prankster who pulled the joke on you. But still, blinker fluid is not real and never was. But while you are here, you can take a look at which car fluids are real so that you have better chances of avoiding these types of pranks in the future. But in short, those are the transmission fluid, power steering fluid, brake fluid, and windshield washer fluid.