LAST UPDATED: November 15, 2019
Best Gifts for Car Lovers: Top Picks for the Gearhead in Your Life
Car lovers will go crazy for the gifts on this list
The Review Team
How We Decided
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PUBLISHED ON November 15, 2019
What do you get for someone who already has what they want sitting in the garage? Something to remind them of it, of course. These gifts are perfect for the car lover in your life, as they can spice up their next outing behind the wheel, make the drive more comfortable, or simply broadcast their hobby to the world. Just don’t be mad if your present makes them want to spend even more time with their car.
Made with the car company’s iconic colors, this sleek timepiece has been sculpted to remind users of memorable features from the classic Scuderia Ferrari single-seater.
- Stylish enough to be worn as evening attire yet durable enough for everyday wear, it boasts precise quartz chronographs that let you easily determine just how quickly you went from 0 to 60
- A little on the heavy side
- Lack of an included user’s manual can make learning how to use its various functions frustrating
With two spacious compartments—and the ability to create a third using the removable divide—this organizer offers plenty of room for the gear in your trunk. It comes with removable hardened base plates and folds up when not in use.
- Securing straps have built-in metal hooks, ensuring the bag doesn’t slide around in transit
- Stout handles allow you to carry it around without fear of it breaking
- Has a strong chemical odor out of the bag that takes some time to wear off, so you may not want to keep it inside the cabin
- May not come with straps as promised
This product bundle has everything a driver needs to keep his or her car looking clean and polished, including a foam cannon, fabric cleaner, and stain remover.
- Foam cannon and hand mitts can work up an incredible amount of lather, allowing you to quickly knock any accumulated dirt and grime off your car’s exterior
- You’ll need to be careful with all the parts. Many are made with fragile plastic, which is surprising because they’re not cheap
- Products may start to leak after a short period of time
Why Trust Us
All of our reviews are based on market research, expert input, or practical experience with most products we include. This way, we offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.
Benefits of Gifts for Car Lovers
- Appreciation. In today’s world, sometimes we don’t take the time to make sure the ones we love feel appreciated. Buying a gift for the car nut in your life helps them feel like they matter to you. You’ve put some thought into what they love most.
- Usefulness. Some gift ideas for gearheads are extremely useful and practical. Once you purchase a gift for a car lover that they can use often, you know they’ll be thinking of you every time they use it.
- Understanding. Some car lovers think that no one understands their passion, and that can be a challenge in relationships. Purchasing an automotive gift for a car lover shows them you understand and appreciate their favorite hobby.
Types of Gifts for Car Lovers
Novelty gifts for car enthusiasts can be a lot of fun and show friends and family you think their hobby is cool too. Gifts like T-shirts, watches, model race cars, and posters related to their favorite brand or racing series are often highly appreciated. While some would consider a model car on a desk just a trinket, a car buff sees it as a work of art and enjoys it every time it catches his or her eye.
Let’s face it, as far as hobbies go, cars are expensive. Between the cost of parts, tools, and maintenance, a car can be a real money pit. Car people will save money specifically for one item or another until they can afford it. If you can figure out what part or tool they’ve been saving for and purchase it, you’ll win some points. They’ll know the gift was from the heart but also has a practical value, like helping them go fast or look cool.
Sometimes the greatest gift ideas are the ones that we don’t think to buy ourselves. Purchasing gift certificates for things like car washes, full detailing jobs, and oil changes is a great way to show a car lover that you’re thinking of them and you want their baby to look like a new car. It saves them money and allows them to pamper their prized possessions. Find out where they like to take their car for these services and give them a gift certificate.
Turtle Wax has long been a favorite of car gurus when it comes time to making their rides shine. The company launched in Chicago, Ill., in 1944, and it creates car care products that make excellent gifts. This Turtle Wax Ultimate Car Care Kit would make any car lover happy.
Haynes manuals have been a staple in garages for a long time. The first Haynes manual came out in 1965, and the company has produced millions from its Newbury Park, Calif., headquarters since. Repair manuals, like this Haynes Chevy Silverado & GMC Sierra Repair Manual, make excellent coffee table books or references in the garage.
It doesn’t have to be Christmas to get your car guy a LEGO set. LEGO offers tons of kits for auto enthusiasts. With a history that stretches back to 1932, LEGO has been creating toys everyone can recognize. Check out this LEGO Speed Champions 1974 Porsche 911 Turbo 3.0 Building Kit.
There are a lot of toy car companies out there, but Kinsmart is the leader in accuracy and realism. This Hong Kong company was formed in 1992 and offers fun products like this Subaru Impreza WRC 1:36 Scale Diecast Car. We think it would look great on an office shelf.
Gifts for Car Lovers Pricing
- Up to $50: There are a lot of gift ideas for gearheads in this price range. Car care kits, Bluetooth gadgets, T-shirts, model cars, and gift certificates can all be found for under $50.
- $50 to $100: This could be the sweet spot for auto enthusiast gifts. High-quality coffee table books, diecast models, and race car memorabilia are available at this price point.
- $100 and up: Gifts in this range will make a car lover jump for joy. Limited-edition memorabilia, auto parts, and even race-day tickets might be a great choice at this price point.
Most car nuts have at least a few favorite brands that they’re loyal to or lust after. When you’re shopping for the perfect gift, start by figuring out one or two manufacturers that you know they love. A Volkswagen T-shirt would be a great gift for a Beetle lover. Gifting that VW t-shirt to a Ford person won’t resonate as well as a Mustang hoodie or a Thunderbird coffee mug.
If you’re purchasing something for a car lover to use in or install on their car, it’s important that the gift fits. Find out what make, model, and year their favorite car is so you can buy the right item the first time. Leather seat covers for a 1990 GMC pickup are a great gift, but not if your beloved car enthusiast drives a 1997 Ford F-150.
- Style. Think continuity here. Car lovers all have a distinct style, and it’s important to consider the individual's taste before purchasing a gift for their car. A bright yellow steering wheel cover won’t complement a camel-colored leather interior in their classic car, but a pair of camel driving gloves would.
- Knowledge of Their Vehicle: If you don’t know the difference between a ball joint and a valve cover, that’s okay. Just don’t purchase anything for their vehicle. Choose a novelty gift for them instead. They’ll be happy to receive a book, clock, or shirt branded by their favorite manufacturer, and you won’t have to worry about knowing what year their Porsche is or what engine they have in their Camaro.
Best Gifts for Car Lovers Reviews & Recommendations 2020
Our choice for the best gift overall for car lovers is the Ferrari Race Day Watch. This quartz-movement watch is styled in Ferrari’s signature colors and was designed to remind the wearer of the company’s racing heritage. It’s a 44-millimeter watch with a silicone, tire-tread band that fits comfortably on the wrist.
You don’t have to own a Ferrari race car to appreciate this watch. We like that it looks fast, even though it’s just sitting on your wrist. The tire-tread band is a nice, stylish touch, and the quartz movement should be reliable for years to come. What we like most about the Ferrari Race Day Watch are the chronograph functions, making it easy to calculate lap times at the local track.
There are a few issues we found with this watch. While most racing-inspired watches are big, this watch is really big. It feels heavy, and 44 millimeters seems a bit oversized. Between the size and the colors, it might be difficult to coordinate with your apparel. Also, users have stated they received theirs without a user manual, making the chronograph functions difficult to figure out.
Our value pick is the Fortem Trunk Organizer. This unit has two large compartments with a modular design, allowing the user to split them into three. Its large size organizes most of your gear, and it folds up when it’s not in use.
The Fortem Trunk Organizer is a great gift for the gearhead in your life. First, this organizer is waterproof, making it perfect to take to a car show full of products to pretty it up before the judges come around. Also, the hooks keep it in place in your trunk, so you don’t have to worry about it sliding around and falling over. Finally, it can be easily removed from the trunk, so transporting all your gear is no problem.
The Fortem doesn’t come without its share of drawbacks. For one, there’s a strong odor that some users have noticed when the unit is brand new. It will wear off, but if you’re driving an SUV or hatchback with an open rear compartment, the smell might annoy you. There have also been complaints about the Fortem not coming equipped with the mentioned hooks and straps.
Our honorable mention goes to the Chemical Guys 20-Piece Arsenal Builder Car Wash Kit. This kit is a total package and comes equipped with everything from wash and wax for the exterior of your car to an interior fabric cleaner.
Comprehensive kits make great gift ideas for car lovers. We like that this kit comes with everything you need to make your car sparkle, inside and out. The foam cannon used in conjunction with the microfiber hand mitts make short work of accumulated dirt and grime. The wash and wax formula is spot-free as well, keeping your ride looking brand new.
While the formulas are excellent, we found that some of the bottles may not be quite up to snuff. Several users have complained that the bottles are prone to leaking and also are made with lower-quality plastic that has a tendency to break. At this price point, you won’t expect your spray bottle to give up so easily, so it’s important to be aware of that.
Another great gift for car lovers is this trunk organizer from Trunk Crate Pro. You can get this in a regular size or extra large. It comes in black, blue, gray, pink, and red. While it comes with four compartments, the dividers are removable and slidable for optimal customization. The sturdy bottom protects from any holes, and the strong side walls and center divider hold it open and make it extra-strong. There are interior and exterior mesh pockets for additional storage. Buckles help secure pockets, and there are heavy-duty handles for ease of carrying heavy loads. While great for your trunk, you can also put this in a car seat or on the floor. These are great for holding emergency gear, sports gear, books, groceries, children’s toys, drinks, or gifts during the holidays.
The organizer itself weighs 4 pounds, so it is fairly lightweight while nothing is in it. Also, it will fit all vehicles unless you have an extremely small trunk. Even then, it is 23.5 x 15 x 12 inches, so it doesn’t take up much room. If you take your vehicle to your job and use it to hold cleaning supplies, marketing equipment, or even sample products, this is an ideal solution for organization. Strong and durable, it should last a very long time.
Keep in mind, though, that this is really a cheap product. However, for the quality, it is priced at about what you would expect.
The car lover in your life definitely enjoys keeping their car in tip top shape. Part of that is detail cleaning for the interior of their car. To get in those hard-to-reach spots, this gel from TICARVE is a great solution. This slime-like substance will clean air vents, around door handles and buttons, in the center console, and even around the curves of the steering wheel. It easily picks up dust, grime, and dirt. Made of guar gum with a lavender fragrance, it is bright blue and easy to use. In addition to cars, it works great for keyboards, small fans, drawers, and anything with small nooks and crannies. It is designed to stick to the substance you want to clean and pick up anything unwanted. It is also very inexpensive.
You are able to keep using this until its vibrant color becomes dark and dirty. Then you will need to buy a new one as it cannot be cleaned. After use, you will also want to store it in its airtight container or it will lose its quality. It should be stored in a cool place or it will lose its quality, as well. Depending on how dirty your car is, this may not last more than one usage. However, if you keep a clean vehicle, you should get multiple uses from this gel.
For car lovers who also pay close attention to the outside of their car, this kit from Turtle Wax is the perfect solution. It is a 10-piece set that includes car wash, tire shine, Odor-X spray, scratch and swirl remover, wax, and dry spray wax. It helps you wash your car, protect it, and even eliminate odors on the interior. It has a fast-drying formula to preserve the outside appearance of your vehicle. It also has items to clean leather seats, glass, and the interior dashboard. It has a rain repellent and will prevent water spots after usage.
For regularly cleaned cars, this will make a lasting difference for a spotless shine. The containers are big enough that they will last for several uses without needing to order more. It also comes with a rag and sponge meant for car cleaning.
Keep in mind that this set is not meant to be used on cloth seats and could damage them. It is not necessarily cheap, but you get so many products in one set that it is worth the price. If your car is especially dirty, this may not make it as instantly spotless as you would hope.
For the car lover in your life (or yourself!) who likes manual gear changes, this is the shirt for them. This black shirt has a white gear graphic with the text “Real Cars Don’t Shift Themselves.” It is unisex and comes in sizes small to 3X large. Ann Arbor has provided a handy sizing guide on their product page. For those that like products made in the USA, this shirt is designed and screen printed by Michigan artists and printers. It is designed to be slightly tapered and less box-shaped to give you a more natural fit. It is made from 100 percent USA-grown cotton. For the price, it costs a bit less than you’d expect for a T-shirt, making this a great all-around product for petrol heads.
The shirt is of good quality and the design on it doesn’t come off with wear over time. For stick drivers with a good sense of humor, this is definitely a fun product.
However, this shirt is on the thin side, and it has been reported to shrink slightly after the first wash. You will either want to rethink your washing strategy, or buy a slightly bigger shirt. It is highly recommended to air dry this shirt.
For the car lovers who like to keep their cars clean, here is an alternative solution to the cleaners already mentioned above. This portable vacuum from ThisWorx is great for cleaning out your seats, floor, dashboard, and even hard-to-reach places. It is a handheld vacuum with an LED light and a 16-foot cord. The curvature of the vacuum makes it feel natural to use. It also comes with a flathead hose, an extension tube, and a brush head for all types of cleaning. It is 12V and 110 watts for power usage.
The vacuum comes with a small carrying case for ease of storage and transportation. It is fairly affordable for a vacuum, as well. Weighing just 2.5 pounds, it is easy to handle.
However, it has some downsides. It does not plug into a normal plug, so you will need to use a “lighter-style” plug, such as the one in your car. It must be plugged in to use and does not hold a charge, which is a major downside. You are likely to find other chargeable handheld vacuums that will make climbing in your car and cleaning it easier. However, for a good price and good quality, this vacuum from ThisWorx makes our Honorable Mention list.
- Not all car nuts are created equal, so take into consideration what you know about the intended recipient before making a purchase. Someone who tools around in a Porsche will likely have very different tastes than a person driving a jacked-up F-150.
- Ask yourself if the gift recipient is more likely to prefer something for the car itself or an accessory that reminds them of it. If it’s the former, you’ll need to have a pretty good idea of what they already own, so you don’t buy a duplicate accessory or give them something that’s not compatible with their vehicle.
- If your loved one enjoys performing required maintenance themselves, think about buying them toolsets or other items for the garage. However, if they prefer to outsource all the necessary upkeep, those kinds of gifts are less likely to be appreciated.
Q: What do I do if I don’t know the first thing about cars and want to buy a car gift?
If you’re not a gearhead, steer clear of any gifts that require intimate knowledge of the vehicle. Instead, focus on car-related items like apparel, accessories for the interior, or relevant books and other media.
Q: Do I need to know what the intended recipient drives?
If the gift you’re considering is only compatible with certain makes and models, yes. But be careful, as this can quickly become confusing. If you feel lost or overwhelmed, it’s better to buy something that isn’t as specific, or you can ask your loved one for that information. Of course, that might spoil the surprise, so be careful.
Q: Should I buy someone a gift if they just got a new car?
If you want to, sure. “Car-warming” gifts are becoming more common, and they represent a great opportunity to buy a car lover something they’ll enjoy. It’s less likely that the recipient will have already purchased accessories for a brand-new ride, so car-warming presents make life easier for the gift giver as well.
Your loved one will feel like a racecar driver with the Ferrari Race Day Watch strapped to their wrist as it’s stylish, functional, and reminiscent of classic sports cars.
The FORTEM Trunk Organizer is a more functional choice, but it should nevertheless be appreciated as it has plenty of room to help drivers tame the mess inside their vehicles.