So your bestie, girlfriend, boyfriend, son, daughter, or significant other just got a new car – so what should you get them? While it depends on their personality, there are some practical car warming gifts that they are pretty likely to use or wear. In this blog, I research 11 of the most popular gifts to consider, and a few that may be off of your radar.
1. Car Wash Combo Pack
Ok, so I’ll start with the obvious. You really can’t go wrong with a car kit that contains everything from wash gel, to a wash mit or sponge, to detailing sprays and wipes. I’m a big fan of the ArmourAll car care gift pack but you can certainly assemble a bundle of your own by buying a few items separately and placing them in a wash bucket. Slap a bow or ribbon on it, and you’re done. Here are a few items to consider adding:
- Wash bucket (to place items)
- Detailing wipes
- Tire brush
- Leather cleaner/wipes
- Tire shine
- Glass cleaner wipes (or spray)
- Wash gel
- Wax spray (or paste)
- Interior protectant wipes (or spray)
- Wash mit or sponge
- Terry cotton towels
If you want to go the simple route, Amazon has an 10-piece gift set by ArmourAll that you can check out here that’s a pretty good deal for the money.
2. Car Windshield Sun Shade
This is another perfect car warming product that won’t cost too much and everyone needs in my opinion. You may have seen reflective sun shades, which work well and can reduce the temperature of your car interior by as much as 51 percent according to tests. There are a few different types:
- Bubble (accordion-style) sun shade, that is easy to fold up, perfect for small dashes
- Jumbo sun-shade (as pictured above). This one is great for larger windshields
- Side-shades. These come in a variety of different options. Some you’ve probably seen come with suction cups, and are an ideal product if you have children that will be sitting in the back seat.
3. Car Windshield Cover
No, this is not actually the same as a sun shade (which is what I initially thought). If the person you are buying for lives in an area that experiences snow, this product is definitely going to come in handy if they do not have a garage. Windshield covers are added prior to snowstorms or ice events and can be basically rolled away.
No one likes to spend 20 minutes scraping snow in the winter, and this product definitely can be a time-saver in the mornings.
4. Quality Handheld Car Vacuum
One thing I have found with handheld car vacuums is that you really do get what you pay for. I remember buying a cheap Dirt Devil vaccum for around 15 bucks to clean up the occasional crumb or two, and being extremely disappointed.
I upgraded to a Shop-Vac, which is another good gifting option (with superior performance), but there are some handheld devices that actually do perform pretty well.
Black and Decker 16V Cordless Dust Blaster
This one I found on Amazon by Black + Decker in the cordless handheld vaccum category has been recommended on several sites I’ve visited and seems to perform well for the money. The thing I like about this one is it’s ability to be emptied easily. Some of the $10-15 models I’ve used just feel cheap, the filters are flimsy, and the suction just isn’t where it needs to be to clean a car.
5. Handheld Portable Power Pack
This is the one product I wish I had received at 16. At some point, we’ll all be in a situation where we need a jump in a parking lot, or worse in the middle of nowhere. Jumper cables are great, but this is an easier solution in my opinion.
It makes a great gift, because preventative devices are necessarily something that I’d imagine most people will want to spend money on. Most you can purchase in the $50-$100 range, and one of the most practical gifts on this list.
I’d suggest actually picking up a portable power pack that you can use for inflating tires (or other devices) as well as starting your car. Many of the inflators that you can use with a car’s power inverter (cigarette lighter) are not great based on my experience, and are pretty time consuming if you’re in a bind. This one by Potex has great reviews on Amazon but there are some other solid options as well to choose from.
6. Auto-themed Apparel
Depending on how in-love the person is with their new ride, auto-themed apparel is a great choice. From visors, hoodies, to t-shirts, brands like Mercedes, BMW, Tesla, and many others have some really unique options online you may want to consider.
7. Basic tool kit for the road
It always seems like everytime I needed a screwdriver or wrench in college, I never had the equipment I needed – until someone gifted me a tool kit. Whether you are changing a tire and need help removing the spare, or find yourself needing a quick DIY fix, a basic toolkit you can keep in your trunk makes a perfect gift.
This 210-piece set from Stanley is affordable and has some pretty good reviews on Amazon. It also has just about every socket or bit you’ll need for changing a tire or changing a battery out. I keep a small toolkit at home which works well, but you may want to opt for a higher quality set that can tolerate automotive use.
8. Driving gloves
Most steering wheels are leather, which means one thing – they get really cold in the winter. A nice pair of driving gloves to keep in the glovebox is a great choice especially if the person you are gifting has a 5-15 minute commute, where it’s probably going to be pretty chilly the entire time despite having the heat on.
One thing to note is whatever you select, you’ll want to find a pair of touchscreen gloves you can still operate a smartphone with.
9. Polarized sunglasses
A quality pair of driving glasses is always a great choice for just about any occasion, especially driving. Whether you opt for a basic pair or designer brand like Rayban, Oakley, Costa Del Mar, Gucci, Prada, or Maui Jim (to name a few!) or a cheap pair, cutting down on road glare is super-important for safety.
Most of the time you really do get what you pay for, since certain models are just pretty indestructible. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve dropped a pair of Wayfarer Raybans on the concrete at a gas station over the years, and am still wearing them. Can’t say the same about the iPhone :(
All in all, you really can’t go wrong with a good looking pair of shades with UV protection to keep in the console.
10. Car Wash and Detailing Coupons & Gift Certificates
One of the easiest options is to gift a coupon or gift card to a local car wash or detailing service. Most carwash chains like AutoBell offer these, and can usually be applied to both carwash and detailing services. One company that I personally use for detailing (and frequently talk about) is called Spiffy.
Spiffy is a technology-driven on-demand company that offers a variety of services from carwashes, to detailing, and even oil changes. Just download the app, select your services, and they come to you! Currently Spiffy is available in the Los Angeles, Dallas, Atlanta, Charlotte, and Raleigh markets with their basic wash packages starting at under $20.
11. Car Document Organizer
This is one gift that I would actually like to have personally. Since everyone is legally required to have their registration card on them when driving, why not have a safe place to put all of these important cards and documents? If you keep insurance cards, traffic tickets (whoops!), oil change receipts, and anything else, having a small document organizer to fit inside the glove box seems like a great idea.
No more fumbling around if an officer asks for license and registration, just whip out this handy little book.
Bonus Idea: Detailing Cart!
Another really cool idea for any car lover is their own detailing cart with wheels, perfect for storing all kinds of spray bottles, brushes, buckets, and everything they need for washing their car.
Check out my post 7 Awesome Car Wash Detailing Carts for a few cool carts on the market right now.
So there you have it, 11 easy gift ideas for just about anyone excited about driving. Have a super useful car accessory you wish someone gifted you when you got your first car? Leave a comment below.