Article: The 25 Best Gifts for the Car Guy in Your Life: HowStuffWorks
The 25 Best Gifts for the Car Guy in Your Life
Image: Kseniya Ovchinnikova / Moment / Getty Images
About This Article
Finding the right gift for a friend or loved one can be a daunting task at the best of times. Sometimes you just have that perfect moment of inspiration and know exactly what to get. But more often than not you're struggling to think of something they'll really appreciate. How do you choose? Where do you even begin? The best thing is to focus on what you know they already like. Is it sports? Movies? Cars?
The right gift for the car guy in your life is probably not a pair of driving gloves or a do-it-yourself model of a Porsche 911, but you never know. Luckily the world keeps coming up with cool, innovative and interesting new items that any car guy would be lucky to have. From simple stocking stuffers to practical maintenance items to essentials you never knew you needed, we've assembled a list of 25 of the best for the gearhead in your house who's always out in the garage. And even better, everything here is actually under $100 so you don't have to break the bank to get them, either. If you're wondering what to get this holiday season, then cruise on in and see if anything here inspires you.
Get some air in there!
Your tires need air. They crave it! Just like you, they can't live without it! So give your tires what they want with an Audew portable air compressor pump. This 12V digital tire inflator is affordable and can inflate a flat tire in under 2 minutes. It also lets you preset the exact psi you want so there's no need to worry about under or overinflating and it's good for bikes, basketballs or anything else that needs air.
Suck it up, buttercup
No one has a clean car all the time, and the people who seem to only get it that way by actually cleaning it. The key to a thorough job? Try a Black + Decker Flex Car Vac. With enough attachments to delve into every nook and cranny of your car and its upholstery, you need not worry about where dirt and grit have managed to hide away, because you'll have it all cleaned up in no time. And with a 16-foot power cord that plugs into your lighter, the whole car is open territory.
Bring home the foam.
How could you not want something called a foam cannon? It barely even matters what it's for! But if you have to have a reason, the Chemical Guys' Foam Cannon makes washing your car at home a professional experience by hosing that thing down top to bottom in sudsy foam to ensure maximum coverage. And, let's be honest, it's a lot more fun than a typical car wash in your driveway, too. Just attach it to a pressure washer and you'll have a car that looks brand new in no time.
Ring ring ring ring ring, CupFone!
Finding the best place to put your phone in the car is no easy task. You can leave it where you put your change if you want, but you'll have to dig it out in a pinch. You can buy dash-mounted holders, but you need the real estate to place them there. Or you can get the CupFone! It fits right in your cup holder and features an adjustable extender arm to position it exactly where you want it.
Smell like a gentleman!
Does anyone want a stinky car? Heck no! But traditional air fresheners often do a poor job of it. And do you really want that cliche pine tree hanging from your rearview? Gent Scents offers up manly-scented air fresheners like "leather" and "sandalwood." They look like small blocks of wood and come with a little holder to affix them discreetly anywhere in your car. Plus, you can subscribe for less than $10 to get a new one each month!
Let socks be your guide
Come Christmas a lot of people have a tradition of having the main gifts and then some smaller gifts in the stocking. You know, stocking stuffers! And what better stocking stuffer for a diehard car guy than a pair of Clutch Gas socks. Left is for clutch, right is for gas, and you'll never have to forget which foot goes where ever again. Yes, it's silly, but that's the point. Better than a pair of Argyle socks, that's for sure.
One full gallon
If you live anyplace that's wet and mucky you know the value of some good floor mats in the car. Hammacher Schlemmer has one-gallon floor mats able to hold an entire gallon of rain, melting snow, or spilled coffee before it leaks anywhere else in the car. It's not just letting it pool either, the fibers absorb and disperse the liquid so you don't have any water traps slowing you down. Plus, they're easy to clean and mildew and fade resistant as well.
Light it up!
Sometimes any car, no matter how nice it is, just isn't as visually impressive on the inside as it could be if it looked more like the club. And that's where LED interior lights come in. LEDGlow's interior blue lights can line your footwells and under the dash to turn your car or truck into a mood-lit party on wheels. Plus they have variable brightness settings and can be synced to music to ensure the ultimate club feel without ever leaving the driveway. And there's free technical support!
Get the drop on droppings.
When your car runs afoul of fowl, what's the solution? Can you get to a car wash in time? Do you have paper towels in the trunk? Maybe yes and maybe not. But the fact is, when a bird bombs your car you don't want to leave it because that little turd has paint-destroying enzymes in it that will mess up your day if you let it. That's where Drop Wipes come in! They're the perfect stocking stuffer gift for about $10 that can safely and naturally clean up the mess and give everyone a good laugh at the same time.
Get your Fix
Have you ever had a light pop up on your dash and had no idea what it means? The gas light is pretty easy to figure out, and the oil light, too. But what does the check engine light want you to check? Normally, you'd have to go to the garage to get them to use an OBD2 scanner, but not with FIXD. This Bluetooth scan tool can read and diagnose engine issues and even estimate repair costs for what's wrong. It's a great tool for the mechanically minded.
This gift is polarizing!
A good pair of polarized sunglasses can be extremely helpful when you're driving off into that sunset. No glasses means you're practically blind, and the average pair of polarized glasses tends to be way beyond what you need, drowning everything in dismal sepia tones that suck the life from the world. Try a pair of Felix Gray glasses, which are lightweight and just polarized enough to cut the glare but keep the world looking bright!
Let your best friend ride in style
Did you know that there are nearly 90 million dogs in the United States? That's more than twice the human population of Canada! All the dogs aren't staying home 24/7 either, a lot of them are going for car rides, which is why an iBuddy dog car seat cover or dog hammock is the perfect gift for a car guy who also has a car dog. These covers fit over the back seat of pretty much any car, truck or SUV. They're scratch-resistant, water-proof, machine-washable and come with mesh windows so even the smallest pup doesn't feel locked in a box.
Keep it charged with Anker.
Nothing is more annoying than having a dead battery in your car except for maybe one in your phone. If you're on a long road trip you need that phone and, maybe more importantly, your passenger needs a phone. Don't risk losing the charge and make sure the car guy in your life has an Anker Car Charger. For under $25 on Amazon, you can get a 36W charger that's set up to charge pretty much any wireless device in existence.
This one's in the can.
If the car guy in your life is a neat freak and, better still, if they're not a neat freak, then the car garbage can by Drive may be the perfect thing. Yes, it's just a garbage can, but it's the most versatile car garbage can around and if it prevents the backseat or the front legroom from being buried in filth, is it a bad idea? An adjustable strap lets you hang this bin just about anywhere in the car, and it comes with its own odor-eating bag liners. Plus, if it's trash-free, you can use it as a cooler bag!
Does the car guy in your life have tow or recovery straps in the back? If not, it's time to get some. These underappreciated tools are seemingly simple but incredibly effective for any towing or recovery work that needs to be done much more effectively than ropes. If you're doing any heavy-duty work or offroading and risk getting stuck in mud or ditches, or do any work hauling people out of those situations, a Smittybilt recovery strap can haul 30,000 lbs. That's not bad at all.
Lock it down.
For the serious car guy who's actually a truck guy, the need to keep things secure is paramount. If the guy you're buying for has a toolbox in the back that he keeps locked up, then you want a high-quality lock to keep it secure. But at the same time do you want one that has keys you can lose or a combination you need to remember? Not if you have the Tapplock. Tapplock uses fingerprint technology for ultimate security, is virtually unbreakable, weatherproof and waterproof. As a backup, you can open it via Bluetooth or with a custom Morse code password, too.
Give yourself a boost!
If you've ever been stuck with a dead battery, you know how awful it is to wait for someone who can give you a boost. That's why the NOCO Boost is the perfect solution. Ranging from 1000 amps to 4000 amps, you're good for at least 20 boosts on a single charge. It can also work as an LED flashlight and charge your phone or tablet if you're stuck on the road as well. At under $100 on Amazon, it's a heck of a deal, too.
Bang! Pow! Mpow!
As much as everyone enjoys the convenience of modern technology like Bluetooth, not every car is equipped, especially if your car guy is a fan of the classics. But thanks to the Mpow Bluetooth receiver, it doesn't matter if your car is Bluetooth-equipped because it soon will be, letting you stream audio from your phone as you cruise along in a car built before anyone even imagined what Bluetooth might be.
It's all in the detailing
Any car guy who really cares about his car wants to make sure it looks good. No one likes a junky car, after all. If it's trashy and dirty, it just ruins the whole scene. That's what makes Meguiar's Complete Car Care Kit one of those perfect, practical gifts. From Hot Shine Foam to streak-free window cleaner to an interior detailer, this is the kind of thing anyone who wants their car looking as good as new needs to have.
Real heroes keep it clean
Ahh, the Brush Hero. It may not be leaping tall buildings in a single bound or web-slinging after villains, but it will save the day for your rims. This water-powered turbine brush is some next-level car cleaning for those times when no matter how hard you pull the trigger on the hose, the road grime just won't come off your tires. The spinning brush head gets in just about everywhere to clean everything up good as new!
Dash to get this cam.
In the year 2010 dashcams were still pretty novel and exotic and made for exciting YouTube videos. But now it's time to join the future and get your own, and for under $100 the Apeman wi-fi dashcam is a great choice. With a 2.45 inch display, excellent night vision, loop recording, motion detection, and an ultra-wide 170-degree angle this cam captures everything. Keep yourself protected in case of accidents or theft, and also maybe just capture that hilarious once-in-a-lifetime moment on the road.
Stop the dropping.
How many times has your phone fallen down the crack between your seat and the center console? Or maybe it's loose change when you dig in your pocket? Or any of 1,000 other things that fall down that crack where nothing seems to fit to dig it back out again? The Drop Stop is the perfect solution! It seals that gap next to your seat without interfering with seatbelts or your comfort and you never have to worry about losing your stuff again.
This hits the spot.
Checking your blind spot is one of the most important things to remember when driving, because being safe on the road is the most important job. Luckily, you can get a hand with the No Blind Spot Rear View Mirror, which extends beyond the range of a normal mirror to give you a 180-degree field of view vs the 52 degrees normal mirrors offer. That lets you see nearly everything on either side of you from behind while reducing glare and easily clamping over your old mirror.
Most of us never give our car horn a second thought. It's a loud noise you can use in a pinch to get some other driver's attention, but does it have to be boring? Nope! Remember the classic "oooh-gah" horn? You can have that! For only $30 or so, you can get the Wolo "Fun" horn that creates that classic car horn sound and it can fit in pretty much any 12V car or truck on the road. If you have to honk your horn, you may as well have some fun with it.
The Definitive Visual History
Not every car gift has to be for a car, they can also be about them. One of the best is "Car: The Definitive Visual History of the Automobile." This book traces the origins of cars from the very first rickety prototypes on wagon wheels to the powerful, super-fast monsters of today. If you have any interest in history, engineering or the evolution of the automobile, this book is a great resource to have on the shelf in your home library. Decade by decade, you can see and learn about the coolest cars mankind ever created.
How much do you know about dinosaurs? What is an octane rating? And how do you use a proper noun? Lucky for you, HowStuffWorks Play is here to help. Our award-winning website offers reliable, easy-to-understand explanations about how the world works. From fun quizzes that bring joy to your day, to compelling photography and fascinating lists, HowStuffWorks Play offers something for everyone. Sometimes we explain how stuff works, other times, we ask you, but we’re always exploring in the name of fun! Because learning is fun, so stick with us!
Get smarter every day! Subscribe & get 1 quiz every week.
Playing quizzes is free! We send trivia questions and personality tests every week to your inbox. By clicking "Sign Up" you are agreeing to our
and confirming that you are 13 years old or over.