Finding the perfect gift for an automotive enthusiast can be a daunting chore. We’re here to help! Our list of 10 great gifts for car nuts steers clear of the detours and sets you off in the right direction. It’s packed with thoughtful products that car lovers will appreciate.
We’ll start with the stocking stuffers and work our way up.
1. Air Fresheners
A little grace goes a long way. You don’t have to come out and say “your car stinks!” Go with a Yankee Candle air freshener to show you really care. Slip one or two carefully chosen scents into your loved one’s stocking and score big points. “New Car Smell” is one of our favorites. Prices start around $1.
2. Fix a Flat
Flat tires are never fun. If the leak isn’t massive, a can of Fix A Flat may be able to get the tire inflated so the vehicle can be safely driven to a service station for a proper repair. A can of tire inflator and sealant starts at less than $10. Keep one can in the trunk, another in the garage, and a spare to give to a friend in need.
3. OBD Dongle
Every vehicle built since 1996 has an Onboard Diagnostic Port (OBD) underneath the dashboard. The OBD Port is your gateway into the vehicle’s computer. You can tap into the system with a Bluetooth or WiFi OBD Dongle and a smartphone app like Torque or DashCommand. These apps provide real-time displays of engine information. Most importantly, they allow you to you read diagnostic error codes and reset the dreaded Check Engine Light (CEL). While prices start at under $20 on Amazon or eBay for generic dongles, gearheads will opt for the high-speed compact PLX Kiwi 3.
4. Floor Mats
A quality set of all-weather floor mats helps protect your car’s carpeting from the elements year-round. WeatherTech is the go-to brand, with two-piece sets starting at $30 or so. Step up to their laser-measured FloorLiners for ultimate strength and dependability in the winter and spring to avoid staining the carpets with salt and mud.
5. Detailing Kit
A comprehensive detailing kit gathers the essentials — car wash, polish, wax, applicators, microfiber towels, and the like — into one handy gift box. Prices start at around $10. Of course, the more you spend the more you get. The Turtle Wax Ultimate Care Kit is a value buy at $30, but serious enthusiasts will crave the added luster of premium brands like Mothers, Meguiars, Griots, and Chemical Guys.
6. Random Orbital Buffer
An electric waxer/polisher makes waxing a car a snap! This buffer saves a ton of time (and cut down on the aches and pains) when you substitute electric power for elbow grease. Prices start at less than $50. The Black+Decker WP900 is affordable and widely available.
7. Slot Cars
Video games like Gran Turismo and Forza may be the rage these days, but there’s nothing like the excitement of head-to-head slot car racing! Carrera Toys offers slot car kits for kids of all ages, with 1:43, 1:32, and 1:24 scale sets. The Carrera Go 1:43 starter sets are priced for the wee ones at well under $100. Be prepared to spend a multiple of that on the amazing high-tech 1:32 and 1:24 digital gear.
8. Jump Box
Dead batteries are always a bummer, but a paperback book-sized lithium-ion Jump Box makes quick work of it. Hook up the cables, push a button, turn the key, and you’re on your way. You’ll never want to tangle with old-fashioned jumper cables again! There are lots of choices out there, and prices start at less than $100. We like the NOCO Genius. NOCO is a quality American brand with a history that dates all the way back to 1914.
9. Mechanic’s Tool Set
A self-contained hand toolkit with wrenches, sockets, and screwdrivers can be a lifesaver. Since they’ll always have it with them on the road, this is the kind of gift that will give for years to come. The Craftsman 108-piece kit is a solid choice and prices are heavily discounted from the regular price of $119.99.
10. Canvas Car Subscription
Does someone special in your life need a new vehicle, but isn’t ready for a long-term commitment? Canvas Car Subscriptions fill the gap between renting and leasing, with innovative, all-inclusive contracts that include insurance, maintenance, and roadside assistance, with variable mileage. Contract terms range from one month to 12 months or more. Vehicle choices include the Ford Mustang, Escape, and F-150 pickup, along with the luxurious Lincoln Continental and MKX. Pony Cars look fabulous with big red bows!
Let’s add one more for the road! A professionally cleaned and detailed vehicle is a joy to behold. If your loved one loves their vehicle but isn’t big on hands-on DIY projects, pick up a gift card at a local independent automotive detailing shop.