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When it comes to buying gifts for the car enthusiast in your life, it can be a pain to find something they’ll love and that you can afford. Custom wheels are awesome, as are supercharger kits and exhaust systems, but they are probably a little outside the holiday budget. Luckily, KSL Cars has compiled a list of 12 great gifts for the car enthusiast that won’t break the budget (too much).
1. Custom-fit sunshade
Here in Utah, the weather is a reliable joke. The old, “Don’t like the weather? Wait five minutes and it will change,” quip isn’t an exaggeration. This is where custom sunshades from Covercraft come in. These sunshades, custom made to fit your car’s windshield, will block out nearly all UV rays and light, keeping your car much cooler in the summer months. A custom sunshade will also help protect your car from damaging UV rays that can discolor or damage the interior, so it can look new for years to come. Check out Covercraft and all their custom car gear here.
2. Digital tire pressure gauge
If you have a car enthusiast in your life, you know they are obsessed with tires. But great tires are useless, and even dangerous unless they are correctly inflated for optimal performance, safety and fuel economy. Tire pressure gauges range anywhere from a few dollars to over $50, and there’s lots of variety to choose from. We like, as does Car and Driver, the simplicity and accuracy of the digital readout gauges like this one on Amazon for $11.
3. Air fresheners
While the hanging-tree air fresheners might be a little played out, car air fresheners are still a great idea for the enthusiast who wants their car to smell better than their last workout at the gym. You can try these clips from Febreze, a subscription service like Drift, or these from Yankee Candle, or even some of these highly reviewed sprays from Chemical Guys. Any of these air fresheners are high quality and will keep their car smelling great for weeks to come.
4. Driving gloves
Mornings in Utah can be frigid. A nice pair of leather driving gloves, like these from Auto Dromo, or Leather Up, can enhance the drive on frozen mornings. Providing excellent breathability, grip, and style, they’re a great buy for any driving enthusiast. And you’ll look and feel like Ryan Gosling, which is always a bonus.
5. Polarized sunglasses
There are few things as irritating to a driver as not being able to see, especially due to glare. Polarized sunglasses can fix that problem. By blocking out glare and providing clear views of the road ahead, polarized sunglasses are essential to a great driving experience. They don’t have to be expensive, either. Sellers like Felix Gray offer high-quality polarized sunglasses at affordable prices.
6. Car canvas prints
Remember the car posters you would get from the book fair at school? As fun as it was to hang those in your room with pushpins, car photography has come a long way. Offering an array of beautiful car photographs, places like Legendary Car Canvases print images of your dream car on high-quality canvas, stretched over a wood frame, making for a beautiful piece of art for any room.
7. Engine diagnostic tool
You’ve seen it and you hate it — the dreaded check engine light illuminating your dashboard. For the DIYer, having your engine diagnostic tool, also known as an OBD2 scanner, can be a lifesaver. Tools like this one available at Advance Auto Parts can tell you the engine code being thrown, and other important data, so you know exactly what’s going on with the engine of your vehicle.
8. Tire shine
With the salt and grime of Utah’s winter roads, dirty tires are a reality for everyone, even after you wash your car. If you want your car’s wash to pop, clean tires are essential. Tire shine products like these from Meguiars, will be sure to complete the clean car look, especially this winter. The best part? A can is less than $8 on Amazon.
9. Hybrid ceramic wax
If you have a car lover in your life, they surely have heard of ceramic coatings by now. The modern standard in car detailing, ceramic coatings offer top-tier protection and shine for your paint. However, applying a ceramic coating yourself can be expensive and difficult to do correctly if not properly trained — something usually best left to the professionals at detailing shops like Envision Detail in Murray.
That said, for less than $25, you can get some of the benefits of a ceramic coating, without the cost. Meguiar’s Hybrid Ceramic Wax is easy to apply, too. Simply spray on after a fresh wash, and wipe dry with a microfiber towel. It may not last as long as some professionally applied coatings, but for the money, it is hard to beat.
10. Custom rubber floor mats
With the salt and snow of winter, comes dirty car floor mats, and potential damage to your carpets from moisture. While OEM rubber mats do offer some all-weather protection, they occasionally don’t fit well or extend up the sides of the footwell.
That’s where custom all-weather liners, like these from WeatherTech, come in. “Each mat is custom measured to ensure an exact fit, and the sides of the liners extend all the way up to collect and contain liquid, dirt, snow, road salt, and mud so nothing leaks onto your car’s factory carpeting,” said Car and Driver. If your car lover doesn’t have all-weather mats for this winter, custom rubber floor liners are the best option for protecting the mats and carpet of their vehicle.
11. Hot Wheels tracks and cars
Is the car lover in your life a child? Then it’s tough to beat the fun of Hot Wheels cars and track kits, like these available on Amazon. Who are we kidding? Even if the car lover in your life is an adult, they’ll have fun with Hot Wheels tracks and cars.
12. Bird poop remover wipes
There’s nothing quite like the tragedy of a bird dropping its business on your freshly washed car. Not to worry, though, Drop Wipes will rescue your car’s paint from becoming damaged by those nefarious winged bombers. These specially formulated wipes are safe for paint, and all you have to do is wipe away the poop, and voila! Paint saved!
13. Powered wheel brush
If the car enthusiast in your life likes to detail their car, they know just how hard cleaning the wheels can be. Brake dust, road grime and debris all can make wheels exceptionally dirty and difficult to shine. This “Shark Tank” featured invention, available on Amazon, compresses the water pressure for your garden hose and attaches to a handled spinning brush (with interchangeable heads) making for an easy solution to your wheel cleaning woes.
14. Driving loafers
For the stylish car lover in your life, there’s no better way to dress up their driving game than with a nice pair of driving loafers. Perfect for the man who likes to dress it up a bit, driving loafers aren’t just comfortable for road trips, they’re an excellent choice for those business casual days at the office. These driving loafers from Wolf & Shepherd, while expensive, are sure to last a lifetime with their premium Italian leather craftsmanship.
We already record everything else in our lives, why not record our drives? Dash cams are helpful for many reasons, especially for evidence in the event of an accident, ticket or other dangerous drivers. Some dash cams even offer built-in GPS, emergency services and integrate with smart assistants, like Alexa. If the car lover in your life doesn’t like to leave anything to chance, a dashcam like these on Amazon is a must this holiday season.
16. Personalized leather keychain
Car enthusiasts are all about details, so why not take that to their keychain? Custom leather keychains like these on Amazon look classy and having one personalized with their name or another significant lettering of your choice, makes for a cool addition to their already prized collection of keys.
17. Tile mate keychain
Going out for a drive is always welcomed for a car enthusiast, but nothing can dampen the mood like not being able to find your keys or wallet. The Tile Mate Keyfinder is a simple solution to a frustrating problem. Attaching to a key ring or slipping in a wallet, Tile Mates connect to your smartphone via Bluetooth, ensuring that your keys, wallet or whatever else you need to keep track of never gets lost and afternoon drives are never jeopardized.
18. Cordless power air compressor
Nothing’s worse than being out for a drive and having the Tire Pressure Monitoring System notify you of low air pressure in one or more of your tires, especially if an air compressor station is nowhere close by. This cordless air compressor available on Amazon is pretty slick. Simply charge the battery, set the desired air pressure and inflate. Once the pressure reaches the preset pressure the air compressor will automatically shut off and your tires will be ready to go. Talk about a lifesaver!
19. Cordless hand vacuum
Chances are the car lover in your life loves a clean car, even meticulously so, which makes this handheld vacuum from Dyson is a must-have. This cordless, lithium battery-powered vacuum provides strong suction and is capable of reaching every nook and cranny of your vehicle. Dyson’s engineering is second to none and will have your car dust and dirt-free in minutes.
20. Driving experiences
Every car enthusiast knows that as much as they love cars, there’s always room to improve their driving. For those looking to take their driving to the next level, enrolling in one of the nation’s professional driving schools could be one of the best gifts they’ll ever receive. Not cheap, these driving schools promise great returns on your money and will benefit the car lover in your life for years to come. For a list of some of the best driving schools, click here.
This holiday season, don’t let shopping for your car enthusiast be stressful. Between these gift ideas, and over 45,000 cars on KSL Cars to browse in your spare time, you’ll be sure to find something they’ll love.
About the author: Having owned everything from a DeLorean to an E46 BMW M3 and a Toyota Land Cruiser, Jason Bell is a lifelong car enthusiast who loves sharing his passions as a teacher, writer, speaker and social media manager. Contact him at email@example.com for comments/questions, or just to say “hi.”
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