The Best Holiday Gifts for Car Lovers Under $500

Be the hero of the holidays with one of these sure-fire gifts they’re sure to love.

byHeather Fishel|
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This article was updated with new products and deals on December 22, 2020

Car lovers are some seriously tough people to shop for. They’re particular about what kinds of products, gadgets, and tools they use, and often already have everything for their ride and garage they could possibly need or want. You can’t just buy them some basic car gift — you need to find something special, something that’ll stand out.

We’re here to help. The Drive has rounded up the best holiday gift picks for any car lover, all for less than $500. These great gift ideas are perfect for auto enthusiasts with any interest, from those who want the latest tech gadgets behind the wheel to home mechanics who love growing their auto tool collection. You’ll find something for the car geeks in your life that’ll make the perfect holiday present.

Add the following gift ideas to your shopping list if you’re searching for the perfect gift for any car enthusiast in your life. Some are even available as limited-time holiday deals, so you can score an awesome present and save at the same time. (Prices were valid at press time, but deals expire and prices can change.)

The Garmin DriveSmart 65 is a savvy, high-tech car GPS that any driver would love to have on their dashboard. It has absolutely everything — a 6.95-inch TFT color display with 1024 x 600 resolution, easy navigation, and preloaded maps for all of North America. Compatible with smartphones, this GPS can guide users to any destination while helping drivers avoid the worst of the traffic with easy-to-follow voice assistance. It even includes built-in Bluetooth and wifi connectivity, which allows for real-time traffic updates, maps, and software updates. And just for the holidays, this device is on sale at Best Buy. You can get this $239.99 Garmin GPS for just $179.99 right now, saving $60.

More Great Gifts for Under $500!

If you know a car lover who’s been dying to add Apple CarPlay and Android Auto to their vehicle, the Boss Audio Systems Elite BE7ACP Car Multimedia Player is the perfect gift. This high-tech addition will upgrade any car’s multimedia options, giving drivers more choices and more convenience. It includes Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and the handy voice-activated assistants that come with these features. Bluetooth connectivity allows drivers to read messages, reply to them, and even send new ones all with their voice, and maps access providers directions and the ability to use third-party navigation apps instead of a traditional GPS device. It even offers the ability to play music from various apps, including iHeartRadio, Google Play Music, Amazon, and more. 

Even More Great Gifts for Under $500!

Absolutely every driver needs to keep a few items in their car for emergencies like jumper cables — and the Noco Boost HD GB70 UltraSafe Lithium Jump Starter is an impressively handy addition to any road emergency kit. Ultra-lightweight and perfectly portable, this compact jump starter can revive 12-volt car batteries and bring a dead battery back to life in mere seconds. Suitable for gasoline and diesel engines, it’s a companion that drivers can really rely on. It’s especially great for new drivers or those who aren’t experienced in jump starting. It’s built to be mistake-proof, with safety features like spark-proof technology, reverse polarity protection, and clear identifiers for easy connections. This portable jump starter is currently on sale at Walmart for the holidays too, marked down to just $191.34 from its usual price of $250.95.

Any car enthusiast who doesn’t already have a dash cam would love to get the Garmin Dash Cam 46 as a holiday gift. This compact camera attaches to the front windshield and wires to the vehicle’s ignition to seamlessly record what’s happening on the road every time the car turns on. It adds a layer of safety, capturing everything on the road ahead with a wide 140-degree field of view. The camera utilizes full HD 1080p recording and gets sharp video footage, letting you easily review the events of any incident or collision. It also has a built-in GPS, supports playback, and can share the video via a smartphone app. Right now, you can score the Garmin Dash Cam 46 for just $119.99, a discount of $20 off its full retail price of $139.99.

If there’s one thing no driver wants to do in the winter, it’s climb into a freezing cold car and wait for it to warm up. The Viper DS4+ Remote Start System can solve this problem and make a perfect gift. It takes any vehicle with a traditional ignition and equips it for remote and push-button starts. Compatible with most vehicles, this kit allows anyone to remotely start their car from a smartphone. It offers Bluetooth connectivity, and it allows for remote starts as well as the ability to turn on the heat or AC to warm up or cool down the car’s interior, all without having to be behind the wheel. Once installed, this system can also be expanded for even more smart features and functionality. Available right now for $259.99, this gift is on sale with a $40 discount of its usual price of $299.99.

If you know a car enthusiast who loves doing their own repairs or maintenance, the DeWalt Mechanics Tool Set makes a fantastic gift. Loaded with 192 different mechanic’s tools, this set includes just about everything needed to tackle auto part repairs, replacements, and more. Packaged inside the sturdy carrying case are tools like pear head ratchets, deep sockets, spark plug sockets, Torx bit sockets, hex keys, and more in various SAE and metric sizes. Each tool is laser-etched with deep markings for easy size identification and covered in a polished chrome vanadium finish for rust- and corrosion-resistance. It’s a set of heavy-duty tools that offer slim heads for narrow, tight spaces and high-torque ratcheting.

Backup cameras make every aspect of driving in reverse easier, and gifting a car lover the Eversecu Digital HD Wireless Car Backup Camera this holiday season is a great choice. It’s more than just a simple single camera — this is a set of four cameras plus a 9-inch wireless display monitor so drivers can see what’s happening from every angle. Particularly great for larger vehicles like SUVs, trucks, and vehicles pulling trailers, this backup camera set includes a 128GB SD memory card to record video footage, and it features 18 infrared lights to capture video even at night. It’s waterproof and able to handle all the challenges of the road too.

What’s better than the gift of fewer speeding tickets? The Escort Max 360 Radar Detector can help drivers slow down when police radar is detected ahead. It’s both a solid radar detector and a great piece of smart technology. This device works with most vehicles and delivers real-time alerts while driving, with USB connectivity and a smartphone app. Drivers can get alerts in-car and on their smartphones when there’s a red light camera or speed camera nearby, and it includes GPS AutoLearn technology for tracking and adaptability. Right now, this radar detector is on sale for $449.99, a $50 discount off the normal price of $499.99.

Absolutely any home mechanic will love getting the Launch OBD2 Scanner Car Diagnostic Code Reader as a gift this holiday season. Designed to help mechanics troubleshoot four different vehicle systems, this diagnostic tool uses state-of-the-art software to check the engine, transmission, battery, and more. It’s designed for tough auto work, with a 5-inch 720p HD touchscreen display that shows what’s happening under the hood or elsewhere in a car. It helps mechanics hone in on issues so they can properly fix them, and this scanner works on 57 different car brands. Right now, this diagnostic scanner is on sale for $238.88, a more than $100 discount off its usual price of $349.