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Car enthusiasts are a particular bunch to buy for—trust us, we know—but that doesn't mean you, their loving family and friends, have to play it safe with gas cards and wiper fluid. With years of gear-testing experience and more than a few thousand miles under our belt, we're here to help you find the right gift for the car lover in your life. From trinkets to electronics and even full-blown experiences, these gifts will make driving that much more enjoyable.
And it doesn't have to break the bank either. Gifts ranging from $10 up to $650 can bring a smile to your favorite car enthusiast's face. As the seasons change and the holidays rapidly approach, here are some details on our favorite products to get you started. With the rush of online shopping impending, don't wait too long before deciding on what you want to gift-wrap this year.
Windshield Head Up Display
Heads-up display is all the rage these days, and rightfully so, By displaying information closer to where your eyes are while driving, checking your speed becomes less of a distraction. But what if you want to see more information on your vehicle? This heads-up display shows coolant temperature, engine RPMS, and more. It simply plugs into your OBD-II port and mounts on your dashboard.
Backseat 3 in 1 Car Charging Station
As your passengers enjoy more and more electronic devices, the demand for charging them grows. This backseat charging station aims to solve that, offering three varying USB-style charging ports. It mounts to a headrest and the cords coil back up into the housing to prevent tangles and messes.
Road & Track Premium All-Access Membership
Give your car-lover a behind-the-scenes look at Road & Track magazine with a Road & Track All Access membership. They'll receive unlimited digital access to RoadandTrack.com including exclusive content, Road & Track magazine delivered to their doorstep, invitations to virtual editor roundtables hosted by R&T editors, inclusion on Road & Track’s member-only R&T Insider newsletter, and discounts and free shipping on the Road & Track online shop. It’s the perfect gift for the ultimate enthusiast.
Tire Pressure Monitoring System
Keeping your eye on your vehicle's tire pressure is very important. Many new vehicles these days come with this option, but for older cars, you might need to buy a kit separately. This set from Tymate does the trick—the solar-powered display mounts on your dash, and reads tire pressure via individual sensors on the valve stems. The system can alert rapid air leakage, high pressure, and more to keep everyone in the vehicle safe.
Road & Track Smoky 600 Experience
Give the gift of the ultimate automotive experience! Smoky 600 is a four-day adventure through Appalachia curated by the editors of Road & Track. Guests can expect curated group drives led by editors, track time at NCM Motorsports Park, distillery tours and tastings, and stays at boutique hotels—culminating in a spirited grand finale drive down the iconic Tail of The Dragon.
Engine Block Coffee Table
For a real conversation starter, check out this engine-block coffee table. For even more customization, you can choose from a variety of color options. The tables begin as GM 4.8/5.3L blocks, which slowly morph into the table thanks to the addition of some pistons and a slab of glass. For a truly unique table, you can't go wrong with this.
IQAir Atem Car Portable HEPA Air Purifier
The road outside is filled with harmful air pollutants, like disease soot and sulfur dioxide. The AQ Atem car air purifier sets out to capture these pollutants in our car. Affixed to the headrest, this sleek and compact air purifier uses hyper HEPA filters to turn out the purest air to breath for you and your loved ones. This air purifier is a great long-term health solution for car enthusiasts who want to prioritize their well-being while on the road.
Ford Mustang Shelby GT500
Whether there are kids at home or someone is trying to find their inner child, a Lego set is a foolproof gift for any of the car lovers in your life. This Lego Technic Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 pays homage to the modern classic with two pull-back motors for racing fun once complete. At $40, it's hard to beat the joy this toy will bring. And if the Mustang isn't your thing, feel free to find a car of your choosing, with hundreds of models available.
Finish Line Socks
Socks. They're a tried-and-true option you can never go wrong with. The Hoonigan Finish Line socks, in particular, are a good bet for car enthusiasts, especially those with some drifting aspirations. These cotton-derived, standard calf socks provide a solid cushion while letting everyone know about your driving skill, real or not.
If you're a worried parent of a new driver, or the concerned child of an older one, keeping tabs on the location of your loved one's vehicle can bring priceless peace of mind. Bouncie plugs into the OBD-II port in any car and for just $8 a month updates a vehicle's location every 15 seconds while a person is driving. Not only can you keep tabs on the vehicle via Google Maps, but you'll get real-time notifications in the event of an accident.
Gran Turismo 7 25th Anniversary Edition
Driving in the real world costs money. From gas to tires and brake wear, it can seem like enjoying a drive is never a cost-free endeavor. But you can still experience driving joy without necessarily jumping in your own car, thanks to the newly updated Gran Turismo 7 25th Anniversary Edition. Gran Turismo has always been at the forefront of racing-game development, and this version is no exception, with all your favorite cars and tracks. Enjoy the drive from the comfort of your home; your wallet will breathe a sigh of relief.
Road & Track T-Shirts
Make a statement with these ultra-soft tees from Road & Track or Car and Driver. Whether your favorite car lover is the type to go for a quippy slogan or something more understated, one thing is for certain—they’re an enthusiast through and through.
Smart Home Energy Monitor
Ever wondered what might be causing your electric bill to jump? This Smart Home Energy Monitor system from Emporia can sniff out the culprits right from most electrical panels. The clamp-on sensors can detect energy usage for each specific circuit and display it on your phone through the app. Through this, you can get real-time spending alerts and figure out where you can save energy costs.
If you're looking for a car cover, we were pleasantly surprised with the EzyShade overall. It's a funky mix between a universal and model-specific car cover—make sure you use the sizing chart to get the right one for your vehicle. For an outdoor car cover that'll protect your ride against all but the worst elements, we like the EzyShade.
An affordable dashcam makes a great gift for any driver. Car and Driver's Road Patrol Dash Cam features 1080p HD video and a supplemental in-cabin camera, and it mounts easily via a suction cup. The 3-inch touchscreen is a cinch to use, and the 150-degree wide-angle front camera and 110-degree interior camera simultaneously capture the road ahead and the vehicle's cabin. The built-in GPS automatically records your favorite car lover's driving route, location, and speed, ensuring they have all the information they need for every journey.
For the complete package, including a hard-wired rear camera, opt for the Nextbase 622GW front- and rear-camera kit. It's a gem.
Road Trip Hits Air Fresheners
Let's face it, our cars don't always smell the best inside. Whether it's burning oil, stale lunch, or just the classic Volkswagen crayon smell, there are odors you don't want sticking around. Thankfully, D.S. & Durga, a New York City–based fragrance and candle company, has got you covered with a set of five automotive-inspired air fresheners.
The Road Trip Hits Collection features rearview mirror hangable scents like "Big Sur After Rain" or "85 Diesel" that mimic classic roads or classic car interiors for your nose's enjoyment. Trust us, they all smell much better than Little Tree's Black Ice.
Dustbuster Car Vacuum
The winner of our Best Car Vacuums of 2022 was the old reliable Dustbuster. It wasn't the smallest, the most powerful, or the longest lasting. But its large mouth opening allowed it to suck up Cheerios and other chunks of debris as well as, if not better than, much-higher-priced competition. And its household versatility means its uses extend far beyond seats and floorboards.
Our hands-on testing also showed great results with the eufy by Anker HomeVac H30. Although it's more expensive than the Dustbuster, its sleek design and light weight made it a pleasure to use in the car.
Car Wash Kit
A car wash kit is always a thoughtful gift for car lovers. Honestly, we could have gone with almost any kit on the market, but we've used Chemical Guys products extensively and have always found them to be top-notch and affordable. This 16-piece kit has everything a car nut could want when it comes to taking care of their most prized possessions.
For a more affordable car wash and wax kit, we recommend this excellent one from Meguiar's.
Tesla Charging Adapter J1772
Everyone knows Tesla cars are outliers, and that includes their charging stations. If your car lover owns a non-Tesla EV, this J1772 Charging Adapter from Lectron will allow them to access more than 15,000 Tesla charging stations in the U.S. We want to point out that the J1772 is not compatible with Tesla Superchargers—only Level 1 and 2 Tesla chargers.
Better still, if your family has more than one EV and one of them is a Tesla, now you can use the same charging station for all your EVs. Best of all, it stashes easily in the trunk or glove box.
Max 360c Radar Detector
If your favorite car lover has an issue with speeding tickets, consider gifting this top-of-the-line radar detector from Escort. It was our top pick in our most recent radar detector test. It's not cheap, but it just might be the very best on the market. And while we would never condone speeding, radar detectors come in handy for making up time on those long cross-country drives.
Portable Power Station
Yes, there are a bajillion jump-starters and battery chargers on the market, some for far, far less than this. But the DeWalt DXAEJ14 Digital Portable Power Station offers 1400 peak amps and 700 instant starting amps, plus it sports a 120-psi digital compressor and built-in USB charging ports. It even offers an LED work light and a built-in alternator tester. Best of all, you can charge via any ordinary household extension cord—no need to buy in to a proprietary Li-ion battery-pack system.
Looking for a more affordable alternative? You could roll the dice with almost any inexpensive knockoff—or go with a NOCO jump-starter, a trusted brand that's always reasonably priced. And when your battery dies thousands of miles from home, that reliability is what keeps your car rolling and your nerves at ease.
Rooftop Cargo Carrier Bag
Amazon is flush with rooftop cargo carriers in all shapes, sizes, and colors. We chose this Amazon Basics bag because it's black—and super affordable. With 15 cubic feet of storage, it's waterproof and comes with stay-dry flaps over its zipper opening. It also features a one-year warranty. For the occasional road tripper, it's ideal.
For more secure storage, you can't go wrong with a hardshell Thule. Its Motion XT cargo carrier comes in four sizes to suit any excursion.
Wireless Charging Phone Mount
When we tested carphone holders earlier in 2022, we tabbed the iOttie Auto Sense as the best cupholder mount. It charges wirelessly as you drive, and the automatic clamping is a fantastic feature. Just twist the base to secure it in your cup holder. It's also available in dash- or window-mounted styles.
OBD-II Diagnostic Scanner
You could spend a bundle on a feature-laden OBD-II scanner, but unless your favorite car lover is a pro mechanic or serious garage rat, it'll be more diagnostic power than they'll ever use. Instead, opt for this easy-to-use and affordable model from MotoPower. It'll tell them everything they need to know when an idiot light comes on.
For complete diagnostics, choose the Foxwell NT604 Elite. It scans and diagnoses SRS/airbags, check engine, transmission issues, and ABS systems.
Fast Orange Hand Cleaner
From high-end dealerships to side-of-the-road tire-patching shops, a common bond is shared over one chemical. Fast Orange is the hand-cleaning chemical choice for backyard and professional mechanics alike. This gallon container with like-magic pumice will make sure you don't ruin any more shirts or towels with residual project grease. Your family and friends will thank you. We promise.
Hitch Cargo Carrier
Measuring 60 x 24 x 6 inches, this Weize hitch carrier adds up to 10 square feet of storage space to almost any vehicle with a trailer hitch. It's the number-one hitch carrier on Amazon; we're guessing it's not just because of the folding 2-inch shank that lifts it up and out of the way when you don't need it, or the wire mesh flooring that keeps smaller items from falling through to the pavement. It has a max weight capacity of 500 pounds and comes with two tie-down straps and a cargo net.
Air Compressor Kit
You could buy your favorite car lover any of a number of portable air compressors to toss in their trunk. But if we're gifting an air compressor to a real car nut, we're going big-time with this Viair heavy-duty kit. It clamps directly to the car's battery leads, and with 150 psi of working pressure, it's powerful enough to inflate even off-road tires on trucks and jeeps. Getting a flat tire miles from a service station can spell doom, even if you've got a plug kit handy. But this kit will get you back on the road in no time.
The old adage "fun for all ages" is rarely more apt than when RC cars are involved. This Bugatti Divo is hot and speedy and comes equipped with a rechargeable 7.4V 900mAh battery, which has 40 minutes of run time at maximum power and full charge. It seems to light up the faces of children and adults alike, as long you can keep it in one piece.
This premium all-weather, UV-protected 18-layer iCarCover comes in multiple sizes to fit cars of all types. Weatherproof, fitted, and durable, it makes a useful and affordable gift. Corrosion, water damage, and UV rays all work together to destroy your car, but a car cover helps keep these forces at bay. For those with project cars living outside, or even older models prone to corrosion, a car cover is a must.
For our money, car covers by AmazonBasics are a fine option. Made of heavy-duty marine-grade 150D Oxford polyester, they also come in multiple sizes to fit most any car.
We spend a lot of time in our cars, sometimes without a say in the matter. As cars lurch through traffic around the world, you can take solace in knowing you're not in it while paging through Michael Spano's Auto Portraits book. Chock-full of scenes from Manhattan rush hour, you'll get a glimpse into the madness and monotony that is NYC traffic without having to endure it. I think we can all be thankful for that.
Mechanics Tool Set
Any driveway mechanic will tell you that hand tools have a way of sprouting legs and making a run for it. And they're usually successful at getting away. Refresh your favorite car tinkerer's kit with this DeWALT Mechanics Tool Set. It comes in 84-, 172-, 205-, and 247-piece configurations in a hardshell blow-molded case with 72-tooth ratchets. You'll never have to take a mid-fix trip to Harbor Freight again.
If your favorite car lover is just starting out, consider this full mechanics tool kit from Craftsman. It makes a fantastic first toolbox. Three auto-locking, spring-loaded drawers keep tools in their place.
Honda Vintage Distressed Civic T-Shirt
We love vintage automotive shirts, and this one from Popfunk celebrates the iconic Civic in all its throwback glory. Featuring a cool blue background with a classic Civic font and the car star of the show, it's a must-have for any JDM fan.
Maybe Hondas aren't your thing. Maybe you're a muscle-car person. If so, check out these vintage domestic manufacturer shirts from Joe Blow Tees for all your Mustang and Camaro needs.
Truck Bed Tent
Truck lovers are always looking for ways to utilize all that space, and truck bed tents are improving in quality and affordability every year. This Backroadz two-person truck bed tent makes a great gift for any truck owner. It comes in multiple sizes and styles, and features a full floor, rain fly and storm flaps, and plenty of windows.
Digital Tire Pressure Gauge
Tire pressure is an important thing. Even if your tire doesn't appear low, just a few PSI away from the ideal tire pressure can lead to heavy steering, poor fuel efficiency, and sloppy handling. For precise pressure readings, having a Digital Tire Pressure Gauge handy is key. Whether you're optimizing for track use or just keeping your daily ride in shape, this gauge from AstroAI is sleek, lightweight, and will read exact pressures for years to come. It also comes with a flashlight to help find the tire valve stem on low-light occasions.
Windshield Sun Shade
Tired of burning your hands shifting into gear or buckling your seatbelt? When all else fails, you can't go wrong gifting a windshield sun shade. After all, most of us are still rocking the ones we got for Christmas five years ago. This EcoNour is one of the most popular sun shades on Amazon, is often on sale, and works as well as any of them.
Electric Pressure Washer
While it's not strong enough to strip a deck, the Sun Joe SPX3000 is ideal for washing automobiles, RVs, and boats. The 14.5-amp/1800-watt motor generates up to a claimed 2030 psi and 1.76 GPM, and it comes with two onboard detergent tanks and five distinct angle tips, plus a 20-foot hose, 35-foot power cord, garden hose adapter, and two-year warranty. Perfect for eliminating those corrosive elements like salt and moss.
We also like the Greenworks Pro 2300 electric pressure washer. It comes with a three-year tool and 10-year motor warranty.
Remote Start System
If your favorite driver lives in a harsh climate or drives an older vehicle, consider gifting this affordable remote start system. You get two transmitter key fobs to start, stop, and unlock vehicles up to 1500 feet away. It's a bare-bones option, but is useful to get the AC or heater up and running when the weather is extreme. Don't be afraid to have a professional install these systems—they can be daunting.
For a fully featured remote start automotive security system that works up to a full mile away, opt for the Viper Responder LC3.
Latitude Wiper Blade
It might seem silly to gift someone a pair of windshield wipers, but you'll probably be doing them a huge favor. Rain, sleet, and snow will soon be upon us and having worn-out windshield wipers makes a big difference in driving visibility. These Rain-X Latitude blades balance cost and function well, winning our wiper-blade test earlier this year.
A hydrophobic coating is used to keep the windshield clear between swipes, and the wipers were quiet over a long period of testing. If you're looking for a set with a few more features, we can recommend the Rain-X Silicone Enduro, coming in at $26.
Bell Racing K1 Pro Racing Helmet
Track driving is always a great time, and—as any track rat will tell you—it becomes an addiction. You legally get to push your car to the limits, and with minimal things to hit, what's not to love? Safety equipment is a big part of what makes the experience so fun. To keep your noggin in check, and within the regulations of most SCCA events, the Bell K1 Pro Helmet is a midrange option with all the right features.
It's Snell SA2020 certified, meaning you can take it to just about any track day. But it's also got price-point leading creature comforts, like direct flow vents, integrated channels for communications systems, and anchor attachment for HANS neck devices.