From general pranks to gag gifts and April Fool's jokes, these are the car pranks and gags that never get old.
Automotive pranks can be hilarious fun. We're not just talking about pulling pranks on your friends' cars like a potato up the exhaust of the victim's car or anything like that, but rather funny pranks that have been pulled over the years when sending someone who knows nothing about cars to the parts store. Of course, these jokes are always intended with a good heart, and no one is supposed to get hurt; we wouldn't want somebody having a panic attack in a parking lot over these, after all.
Many of these you'll likely have heard of before, but some you may not have. Either way, these are some of the greatest car pranks and practical jokes around.
An absolute classic - how many times have you seen someone on the internet telling somebody they need to check their blinker fluid? It's also been used many times when someone wants to be a help in the garage and they're more of a hindrance, so you send them on a wild goose chase going from parts store to parts store in search of said blinker fluid, only for them to return hours later empty-handed.
Due to the popularity of this prank, some online stores like Amazon started advertising blinker fluid, and CarBuzz even discovered an official trademark from Volkswagen telling people to use only synthetic blinker fluid.
But did you know there was actual blinker fluid used in the headlights of the original Dodge Viper? It's true, and you can read more about that here to impress your friends the next time the topic comes up.
Another harmless car prank that makes fun of those with less mechanical knowledge is the notion of piston return springs. The jury is still out on whether they're a necessary service item or not, or whether they're simply a performance upgrade, but those in the know will assure the automotive layman that they are of crucial importance in helping the pistons bounce up and down in the cylinders.
Of course, piston return springs don't actually exist, but that hasn't stopped mechanics, YouTubers, and a plethora of other car enthusiasts extolling the virtues of installing uprated piston return springs in their friend's car.
This one came from the mind of a content writer at CarBuzz and went viral on April Fool's Day in 2019 (before returning in 2020 and 2021). It was meant as harmless April Fool's joke about a 1,000-horsepower send-off for the SRT Demon with a $200,000 price tag and a Hellephant engine.
We even gave the Ghoul a custom logo design based on the Demon logo's design sketches, which lent it enough credibility for Mopar fans to go absolutely mad. Dealerships thought it was real and were inundated by buyers begging Dodge for an allocation.
While it wasn't real, one YouTuber has embarked on the journey to create his own real-life Ghoul, and Dodge has subsequently said goodbye to the Hemi-powered muscle car with the Demon 170, a 1,025-hp muscle car running on E85 - sounds pretty Ghoulish to us.
Has your friend ever brought their car to your place begging you to help them find the source of a strange exhaust whistle or other noise, only to look at you in utter panic as you calmly tell them they need new muffler bearings?
This is another harmless prank that plays on something that doesn't exist, although the internet is littered with stories of how muffler bearings reduce exhaust friction and extend the life of your muffler. In extreme circumstances, friends will even affix bottles of ping pong balls to the car with duct tape to induce such a noise, just so they can watch their friends humiliate themselves as they walk into the nearest parts store asking for replacement muffler bearings.
The reality is that if there is a strange noise coming from the exhaust pipe of a car, it's likely a hole in the exhaust system. However, it can be something worse, like a busted catalytic converter (usually accompanied by check engine lights). Either way, it pays to know your exhaust system, how it works, and what's likely to break.
While we fully recognize the plight of our left-handed readers when it comes to things like scissors, golf clubs, and a plethora of other items that are specific to which hand they're used in, we have to have a good laugh at the number of people who have actively gone looking for things like left-handed screwdrivers, metric crescent wrenches, and the likes. This trope often plays on the gullibility of someone who hasn't clicked that a tool can be flipped over to operate differently. But it's a fun car prank nonetheless to send someone to the hardware store in search of a left-handed screwdriver.
While we've already mentioned the most common made-up car parts, tons could be used to either send your victim, um, friend, on a wild goose chase or have fun with someone on the internet by telling them about made-up car parts. Some of our favorites include rotary pistons (not from a radial engine but from a rotary engine that doesn't have reciprocating pistons), diesel spark plugs, or the good ol' flux capacitor. You can likely convince somebody to swap out the summer air in their tires for winter air.
Of course, when you tell somebody these are the issues, we'd always recommend coming clean. After all, we were all naive once upon a time, and very often, when people reach out for help in forums, it's because they don't know better. It's always better to be a help than a troll.
The above pranks have focused mainly on parts that don't exist, cars that don't exist, or maintenance items that people panic over for no reason because, well, they don't exist. But suppose you like proper old-fashioned practical jokes. In that case, there are some other options you could rely on, like putting a for sale sign on your friend's car so they're inundated with phone calls, or putting a sign that says "Honk if you're… *insert anything that will elicit a honk from anyone on the road."
These are simple, but they're still some of the best car pranks that are timeless. The good old-fashioned whoopie cushion on the driver's seat is great too, although Tesla has now made that a gimmick in its cars.
If you have some time on your hands, you could always wrap your friend's car in saran wrap, cover it in sticky notes, or fill it up with ping pong balls, all of which are harmless pranks for cars that are intended purely to see your friend's reaction and maybe waste their time a little.
Importantly, at the end of the day, no one gets hurt, and everyone laughs or learns.
Join The Discussion