Whether it’s a birthday, a holiday, or just because, finding the perfect present for someone can be difficult. But if the friend or family member in question is all about vehicles and driving, we’ve got you covered. Here are some great (and budget-friendly) automotive gift ideas for car lovers to help guide you while you shop.
Best Gifts to Improve a Vehicle’s Appearance
If your friend or loved one cares about their car’s appearance, they might enjoy one of these cosmetic additions.
License Plate Frame
If they have a favorite team or a fun vanity plate, get them a license plate frame to match. This is a relatively inexpensive and thoughtful gift, and it’s an easy way to customize a car for less.
No matter how many miles you have on your vehicle, a nice car wash (and wax) can make it look much newer. If you have someone special in your life who loves to make sure their car is always shining, give them a gift basket filled with cleaning products and tools. Here are Insider’s recommendations for products that will keep a car in great condition. You could also consider purchasing a carwash subscription at their favorite nearby location.
With pet hair, pollen, and dirty shoes around to cause chaos, it can be hard to keep a car spotless. Instead of having to visit a carwash every time their car gets cluttered, buy your friend a car vacuum so they can quickly clean their vehicle’s interior. AutoGuide has a great list of their favorites broken down by purpose and price.
Steering Wheel Cover or Seat Covers
People appreciate a multi-purpose gift, and steering wheel covers and seat covers fall in that category. Not only are they a cool way to customize a ride, but they can also keep steering wheels and seats in better condition. Steering wheel covers can also improve a driver’s grip, meaning they can improve safety.
The 8-Ball gear shift knob will be popular with retro car fanatics if you’re looking for another cheap choice. Plus, it can be used in both automatic and manual cars. This fun accessory is a great buy for someone who is looking for a vintage feel.
Practical Gifts for Drivers
Not every gift has to be fun or pretty. Sometimes a practical present is the best option. Here are a few ideas for gifts that your loved ones will use regularly or count on when the road presents an unseen obstacle (like a flat tire).
Roadside Emergency Kit
Show a loved one how much you care by investing in their safety. Give them an emergency kit to keep in their car year-round. Hopefully, they never need it, but if they do end up breaking down on the side of the road, they’ll be prepared. While kits vary in size and price, they typically come with a flashlight, first aid kit, jumper cables, basic tools, and more. It’s the perfect gift for a road warrior. Not sure which one to buy? Here are CNET’s roadside kit rankings.
Most people have experienced the pain of sitting on piping hot car seats after the car has been baking in the sun, but did you know that the sun can damage the upholstery in a car? Help your favorite car lover protect their vehicle with an easy-to-use windshield sunshade. Sunshades are relatively inexpensive, and they can be purchased online, at major national shopping centers, or at your favorite auto parts store.
Multi-Port Car Charger
Many new vehicles have a USB port for phone charging, but they’re not always the fastest. A rapidly-charging, multi-port option is a great gift for someone who is always on the go. You can even find chargers that have a USB-C port to charge modern laptops. Here are the New York Times’ favorite options.
Ice Scraper & Snow Brush
There are low-budget choices for removing snow and ice from a vehicle, like old CDs, plastic spatulas, and expired credit cards. But the best way is to have a dedicated ice scraper and snow brush on hand. You can purchase these tools (or a combination of the two) online or at most auto parts stores. This is a handy item to have because even many parts of the South get snow and ice during the winter.
There are plenty of strong opinions on iced coffee versus hot coffee, but both groups can agree they want to keep their favorite beverage cold or hot for as long as possible. The ideal travel mug can keep a drink at the correct temperature and suits an on-the-go lifestyle. Here are Wired’s favorite options in this drinkware category.
Change Their Oil
Show your friend (and their vehicle) some love by paying for a trip to the local oil change place. Many oil change places offer gift cards, or you can travel with your loved one and keep them company while they wait for their car.
Even if you’re incredibly careful, your factory-installed car mats will get dirty at some point. If you have a loved one who hates a dirty car, get them washable floor mats. There are great options that fit floorboards like a glove and can be removed and rinsed for easy cleaning.
You can purchase a smartphone mount to save your friend from breaking any cell phone use laws. Phone mounts are a great gift for new drivers or teenage drivers to help keep them safe and distraction-free. They’re also relatively inexpensive and prevent phones from falling under a seat while they’re delivering directions.
In the blink of an eye, a car can get cluttered. If your loved one hates having a messy vehicle, help them out by purchasing a seatback organizer. They’ll have convenient compartments to stash all their stuff, ensuring everything in the vehicle has a home.
Digital Tire Gauge
Tire pressure decreases right along with the outside temperature, and it’s imperative that your car enthusiast is regularly checking their tire pressure to avoid any mishaps. A simple, digital gauge will make it easy for them to check their tire pressure whenever and wherever the tire pressure light pops on.
Does your loved one have a dog they love more than anything in the world? Consider gifting them one of these great pet accessories for cars. These options will make sure every passenger (even Fido and Spot) stays comfy and safe in the car.
Automotive Tool Bag
Even if your friend or loved one isn’t an expert mechanic, it’s a good idea to carry a dedicated tool kit in the car. There are plenty of options available for less than $25 that can help drivers when they need it most.
Miscellaneous Gifts for the Road Warrior
Still haven’t seen the right item yet? Here are a couple more choices to consider.
A Bluetooth Adapter
Everyone should be able to responsibly enjoy some road trip tunes, but some cars don’t have Bluetooth capabilities built-in. Fortunately, tech geniuses have created Bluetooth adapters to solve this problem. There are styles that plug into the 12-volt auxiliary outlet or the car’s aux port. There are even Bluetooth cassette adapters for the high-mileage, battle-tested vehicles of old. Purchase your friend one of these handy devices; just remember to remind them to avoid distracted driving and have a passenger be the DJ.
The Latest Driving Video Game
If your loved one likes to drive fast, help them do so in a safe, virtual manner. You can purchase the latest racing game for their video game console of choice.
Model Car Set
Does your friend love their vehicle? Do they have a dream car they’re saving to buy? If so, purchase them a model set to display on their desk. This could also be a fun activity for the family if it requires assembly.
Hopefully, this list gave you some unique and affordable gift-giving inspiration for the auto enthusiasts in your life. Follow Direct Auto Insurance on Twitter and Facebook for more fun, including tasty recipes, party tips, and giveaways!