Blog Car Talk Holiday Gift Guide: Practical Gifts for Every Car Owner
Car Talk

Holiday Gift Guide: Practical Gifts for Every Car Owner

Looking for a mechanic near you for maintenance or repair? AutoNation Mobile Service brings the shop to you. Get a free instant quote today.
Get a Quote

The holidays can be stressful, so let us help lighten the load with our handy holiday gift guide. You can find the perfect gift for a new car owner or lifelong car enthusiast in a snap if you know what to look for and where to look for it. Whether you’re shopping for a car lover or practical car owner, these gifts will help them make the most of life on the road.

1. AutoNation Mobile Service Service

What’s a gift guide without a shameless plug? Allow us to sneak in a mention of a very special holiday gift. We get that routine car maintenance and costly repairs often get put on the back burner during the holiday season, which is why paying for a loved one’s service would be an unexpected delight!

While we don’t offer gift cards just yet, we’d be happy to work with you if you want to cover the cost of repairs for a friend or family member. Simply give us a call at 877-907-6484 and one of our repair advisors would be happy to assist you. Keep your loved ones safe on the road this season by taking care of one (or several) regularly scheduled maintenance or repair services.

Give the gift of safety this season by paying for a loved one’s car repair or maintenance through AutoNation Mobile Service!

2. Car Cleaning Supplies

Let’s start fresh with…car cleaning suhopplies! The detailing products aisle at your local auto parts store offers some great gift ideas. Car cleaning gifts can run the gamut from small stocking stuffers such as Armorall Glass + Interior Wipes up to fancy detailing kits from brands like Meguiar’sChemical Guys, and Griots Garage.

Take note of the car detailing brands that your loved ones actively use and choose accordingly to play it safe. You might also sneakily ask them which brands they’d prefer if money didn’t matter — as some folks hold strong loyalty to their brands.

Armor All Wipes are great for stocking stuffers! Find this kit including cleaning, protecting, glass, and interior wipes on Amazon.

3. Portable Car Vacuum

We prefer small traditional wet/dry shop vacuums like this handy Armor All 2.5 gallon vacuum over handheld, cordless units for several reasons. First, traditional wet/dry vacuums allow you to get into interior nooks and crannies with their long hoses and angled nozzles. Dustbusters or handheld vacuums, on the other hand, can be difficult to maneuver into tight spots.

Secondly, standard corded units offer more power to get the job done quickly. A variety of attachments completes the trifecta — with a nozzle or brush for every task. If you really have your heart set on a cordless setup, check out this affordable handheld wet/dry option. The holidays are a great time to invest in one of these vacuums. Stop throwing quarters into coin-op vacs and drop them into a piggy bank, instead.

While handheld, cordless vacuums might be enticing, a traditional wet/dry vacuum is highly recommended to get in all the nooks and crannies!

4. Portable Jump Starter

While waking up to a dead car battery causes frustration, that dread quickly dissipates when you have a portable jump starter. These remarkable devices — small as a paperback book — charge rapidly via USB.

Hook up the portable jump starter’s red clamp to the dead battery’s positive pole and the black clamp to the negative pole, and you’re good to go. Just press the on button and get ready to start your engine! You’ll never need to call a friend or flag down a stranger with a set of jumper cables again.

Help your loved ones drive into 2021 with a portable jump starter. Out with the old jumper cables, and in with these compact, tech savvy life savers!

5. Tire Pressure Gauge

Under inflated or over inflated car tires are just as dangerous as ones that are worn out. Incorrectly inflated tires can lead to poor gas mileage, premature tire wear, and even potential damage to your vehicle’s steering components. You can look at a tire and think, “Hey, does that look low?” But you’ll never know for sure until you unscrew the tire valve caps and check the pressure.

Tire pressure gauges run the gamut from old-school mechanical gauges to high-tech digital units. We like analog gauges that don’t require batteries and include a bleeder valve to make it easy to dial in the precise pressure setting.

There are plenty of options for tire pressure gauges, but analog gauges that don’t require batteries are always a good bet!

6. Portable Tire Inflator

Owning a good tire pressure gauge is only half the equation. If you don’t have access to an air compressor when your tires are low, you’ll need to find one at a gas station and possibly even shell out some change to use it. With a portable tire inflator stowed in the trunk, however, you can top up the tires no matter wherever you are parked.

Some of these portable units can fit in a large glovebox. Most run on 12V power from the cigarette lighter, some run on USB power, and others utilize a cordless system. You’ll want to choose accordingly.

Properly inflated tires are important for better gas mileage and even tire wear. Save your loved ones a trip to the gas station with this portable air compressor.

7. Roadside Emergency LED Flares

Are you prepared for a roadside emergency? While some cars might come with triangle reflectors in case of a breakdown, nowadays, you can be even more cautious (and flashy!) with a set of emergency LED flares. These extremely bright flashing emergency roadside lights are visible from up to a mile away in the dark. These safety lights not only warn approaching traffic to slow down and approach safely, but they also help signal emergency responders or roadside assistance.

If you choose to give your loved ones a set of roadside emergency LED lights, be sure to include an extra set of batteries to stay safe — unless USB powered, of course.

Safety is number one and these bright LED emergency flares are great to keep in the car for any potential breakdowns.

8. Headlight Restoration Kit

Dull, hazy headlights are not only an eyesore, but they can also be quite dangerous while on the road. Dull headlight housings can lead to decreased visibility by reducing the amount of light that shines through – making it harder for you to see the road and for others to see you.

While solving this problem can be an enjoyable and rewarding process, choosing a headlight restoration kit as a holiday gift can be a bit dicey. If considering one of these kits, check to see if the recipient prefers a specific product and wants to take on the task.

Some headlight restoration kits are easier to use than others, and results can vary considerably with skill, patience, and resources. That said, avoid the gimmicks and go with proven products like the comprehensive headlight restoration line from 3M. For a stocking stuffer, consider these easy-to-use headlight restoration wipes.

For those who want to use a bit of elbow grease, this 3M headlight restoration kit will get their headlights looking good as new. For the minimal-effort friend, try these wipes instead.

9. Sturdy Phone Mount

Nothing says, “I love you,” like a slick new phone mount. Just kidding. But gifting someone a phone mount does say, “I care about your safety”, which is basically “I love you” in our book.

All jokes aside, no one should ever drive around with their phone in hand. Not only unsafe, but doing so can also result in fines in many states. Finding the optimal phone mount can be tricky — with choices that include vent mounts, windshield mounts, and dashboard mounts.

Check the vehicle-specific forums to see what owners have to say.  Take your research a step further and Google “what’s the best phone mount for a make/model”. Above all, look for a phone mount that reviews say are stable and secure. The last thing you want is your phone suddenly falling to the floor while driving.

Not sure whether they’ll want to attach their phones to their dashboard or windshield? This iOttie mount let’s them do both!

10. Basic Tool Kit

Every vehicle should come with a basic tool kit. Of course, most do not — making this one of the most thoughtful holiday gifts of all. A basic car tool kit should include screwdrivers, wrenches, and pliers. It should also be compact enough to fit in the car without taking up too much storage space.

Keep in mind, tools should be gifted very carefully. While some folks swear by some brands, they profusely swear at others. This is when your sleuthing skills will come in handy to see if your loved ones have a tool brand they’re loyal to. If not, a basic tool kit like this one will suffice as an emergency kit, and not for those planning to use them for frequent car repair.

While some cars might come with roadside emergency kits, a basic tool kit like this Performance Tool 38-Piece Compact Tool Set is a must-have.

11. Car Wash Subscription

A car wash subscription is probably one of the least expected, yet highly appreciated, items on this list. Your loved ones will think of you every time they get in their squeaky clean car.

Especially at a time like this when cars are parked for longer than usual, keeping your vehicle clean is key to protecting its paint and maintaining its shine. Debris, dirt, and other gunk that might have landed on your vehicle can begin to damage your vehicle’s paint if left for a long time. Additionally, keeping the underside of a vehicle clean is important preventing costly rust repairs down the road.

Simply Google “mobile car wash” plus the location of your loved ones to see which mobile wash services are in their area that offer gift cards.

Tired of seeing your friend’s car covered in dirt and gunk? Let them know gently with a car wash subscription!

12. Dash Cameras

If your loved ones roll up a lot of miles, a dash cam will be a welcomed holiday gift that captures every moment on the road. Consider it an extra set of eyes with a memory like an elephant. Dash cams start at under fifty dollars for easy-to-install forward-facing units.

A high-quality unit with dual cameras (front and rear) can double the price. Features like automatic incident detection and recording add to the cost, but are worth every penny.

Get your friends and family an extra set of eyes on the road with this Rove R2- 4K Dash Cam and Recorder

13. Trunk Organizers

We all know someone with a messy trunk. Fighting that clutter is more than just an everyday thing. When you give those folks a trunk organizer, it subtly and effectively sends both a message and a solution — wrapped up in a bow.

Large trunk organizers with straps make it fast and easy to pack the trunk with essentials for a road trip. Foldable units are convenient to stow away until needed.

Help your loved ones get organized with these handy trunk organizers

Whether you’re looking for the perfect Bluetooth accessory, a fresh set of detailing products, or some handy roadside safety equipment, a bit of research goes a long way. Happy holidays and good luck with your gift-giving!