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25 Gift Ideas For Car Enthusiasts (By An Actual Gearhead!)

Believe it or not, Christmas is rapidly approaching. But what are some gifts that’ll get a car guy or girl genuinely excited? It can be challenging to identify what’ll resonate with this unique type of person.

Fear not! Most of the gearheads I know thrive in the summer, so a great Christmas gift that’s related to their passion is a great pick-me-up for the wintertime blues and can give them something to look forward to in the spring.

Check out this list for inspiration (brought to you by a through-and-through gearhead!) for gift ideas at varying price points. After reading, you’ll be more than ready by the time those Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals come around! I know I would be stoked to receive any (or all) of these on Christmas Day.

Car detailing products

Detailing Products

Detailing can be an art form. Many enthusiasts dedicate a vast amount of time to washing, polishing, and waxing their rides to absolute perfection. Gifting your car geek with even the most basic supplies can rejuvenate their detailing arsenal or establish it if they’re just getting into detailing (or, it can be a subtle hint that they need to clean their car!)

Complete Car Washing/Detailing Kit

If you want to surprise your enthusiast with a little bit of everything, there are a number of detailing kits that contain a huge variety of products that’ll help them keep their pride and joy looking great.

This Arsenal Builder detailing kit from Adam’s Polishes includes 21 of the most commonly used detailing products from soap, tire shine, window cleaner, and interior cleaner. They’ll have everything they need to clean and protect every surface of their car.

Interior Detailing Kit

A freshly washed car isn’t complete without a freshly detailed interior. This interior detailing kit from Chemical Guys covers the basics of interior detailing products with an all-in-one cleaner/protectant, a fabric cleaner for carpet and cloth seats, and a stack of microfiber towels. If their car has a leather interior, consider the Chemical Guys Leather Kit as well.

Glovebox Mystery box subscription

Glovebox is a subscription service that curates auto detailing products and sends them to you in monthly mystery boxes. They work with a wide variety of detailing brands so it’s a great way for your car enthusiast to test out new products.

Glovebox also has their own line of products called GloveboxRx. This is a unique new idea where the product is shipped as a concentrate in a cartridge, then you add your own water and mix it up. Believe it or not, many detailing products come from strong concentrates that are mixed in with a bottle full of water.

Rather than paying to ship water, GloveboxRx allows you to be more efficient – especially when the time comes to buy a refill cartridge rather than a whole new bottle!

Make sure to use code GEARHEAD at Gloveboxdetail.com for 20% off your order!

Paint Correction Kit

Paint correction is what transforms an average-looking vehicle into an eye-popping masterpiece with a vivid mirror-like finish. Without a random orbital polisher (also known as a “buffer”), removing the infinite number of fine swirls and scratches in a car’s paint will take extraordinary time and effort.

This Paint Correction Kit from Chemical Guys provides all the basics to paint correction – a polisher, three polishing pads of differing “cutting” levels and three polish compounds to use with the system.

GT Ultimate racing simulator

Video Games

Wintertime can be rough for car fans (especially if you live somewhere with snow, salt and cold). Video games are a great way to get behind the wheel of some great cars without leaving the comfort of the couch.

I’ve personally played each of these games extensively, and they are a great source of fun and entertainment on the coldest of winter days. Regardless of the gaming system your car fan prefers, there’s an excellent game that’ll hold their attention for hours and hours.

Forza Horizon 5

If your car fan has an Xbox system, I recommend any of the games from the Forza racing game franchise. Their lineup of games is broken into two sub-brands: Forza Horizon and Forza Motorsport.

Their line of Forza Horizon games are more arcade-style, with engaging campaigns based around a fictional music festival in an open-world map with plenty of open roads to explore. There are stunt, drifting, and other wildly fun challenges baked into the game, regardless of if they want to just explore the map or participate in the game’s wonderful campaign.

Think of its playing style like the Need for Speed games of yore – focused on fun and extremism rather than realism. (They even have a Hot Wheels expansion pack, complete with the famous orange track your car fan is sure to remember from their childhood days!) It’s a really great way to escape reality.

Forza Motorsport 7

If your car fan enjoys more track-focused racing games, Forza’s Motorsport games have more realistic physics that move it closer to a racing simulation than a casual racing game. Forza Motorsport 7 is 100% played on world-famous racetracks, with a great campaign that offers hundreds of cars to choose from and many styles of races – from sprints to endurance races.   

Both Horizon and Motorsport are great games, and many car guys (myself included) love to play them both! Forza games are available to play on Xbox systems and PCs.

Gran Turismo 7

If their console of preference is a PlayStation system, the Gran Turismo franchise cannot be beat. Traditionally a more “serious” gaming experience compared to the Forza line of games, Gran Turismo is a game that can (and will) consume many, many hours of engaging and satisfying play time.

Like Forza, Gran Turismo includes hundreds of cars to choose from, with a wide variety of race styles and locales to choose from. If your car enthusiast wants the most realistic racing simulator on a gaming console, Gran Turismo is it.

iRacing

If your car fan is a PC gamer, iRacing is the award-winning racing simulator of choice, renowned as the most realistic, accurate, and breathtaking racing simulator available. In fact, many professional racers play this game as part of their training!

If your car fan loves data, iRacing is it. The customization and adjustments available in this game are truly endless. In addition to professional racers using this game, it’s been said that tuners and OEMs have referenced this simulator in their engineering and testing work.

PRO TIP: Regardless of what platform your car fan prefers to play on, review the car list for each game. This information is readily available online, and your car fan will LOVE the opportunity to play a video game that has THEIR car in it! Now that’s next level gift giving.

Steering Wheel, Shifter, and Pedals Setup for Racing Games

A steering wheel, pedal, and shifter setup take the video gaming experience to the next level. Most modern systems include force feedback that sends realistic physical reactions from the game – vibrations from the brakes, kickback from steering inputs, terrain changes, and more – making the racing experience incredibly life-like.

The Logitech Driving Force systems are highly regarded and are compatible with PlayStation systems, PCs, and Xbox. If you really want to go all in, check out their Playseat system!

Exotic car experience

Experiences

While video games are a fun substitute for the real thing, experiencing the thrill of driving a fun car in a new environment is unparalleled. Late December may not be an ideal time for a new driving experience, but a gift card to any of these programs will surely have them anxiously awaiting the arrival of spring!

Supercar Experiences

These programs, like The Xtreme Xperience, offer participants an opportunity to pilot exotic supercars like Ferraris, Porsches, and Lamborghinis on a real race track.

These events include classroom instruction by racing professionals and eliminate the risk of crashing by requiring track insurance for the event (although these environments are typically well controlled to avoid that type of situation). They’re offered in warm and sunny locations like Las Vegas – a welcome relief from the Christmas cold.

Skip Barber Racing School

Educational programs like the Skip Barber Racing School offer aspiring racers the opportunity to learn about racing lines, vehicle dynamics, and more with race-prepared cars on a racetrack by extensively trained professionals. These courses range from 1 to 3 days at a variety of price points at many famous racetracks around North America, including Laguna Seca and Road Atlanta.

DirtFish Rally School

If your car guy or girl loves rally racing, DirtFish Rally School is the most prestigious rally school in North America, offering students of all experience levels the opportunity to learn how to race on dirt, gravel, and in mud, and snow.

Turo

Are any or all of these experience ideas too pricey for your budget? Fret not! My last suggestion comes from Turo, a “car sharing” alternative to rental cars (think: Airbnb for cars). However, this isn’t the forgettable Nissan Sentra you’ve probably rented at Avis. Turo has a huge variety of cars and, yes, even enthusiast vehicles!

Want to drive a six-speed Mazda Miata? Here’s one for $98/day in Los Angeles. How about treating yourself to an Aston Martin Vantage? Yep, there’s one of those too, in Las Vegas. The options are nearly endless. It’s not just new or common cars, either – try a Pontiac Fiero, Porsche 928, or 1965 Ford Mustang on for size. The possibilities are nearly endless, and each car owner offers different vehicles with different mileage ranges (including unlimited) at different price points.

I’ve personally used Turo to rent a Hyundai Elantra N, a Tesla Model 3, and a vintage Porsche 911. Overall, this platform offers enthusiasts the opportunity to experience their dream cars in real life, without limits.

For the Car

Most car enthusiasts will appreciate a gift that helps their automotive life on a day-to-day basis. There are always items that they aren’t necessarily willing to purchase themselves but wish for the added convenience.

FIXD OBD2 Code Scanner

No matter what car your enthusiast drives, there’s always a chance that a Check Engine light will need to be diagnosed. Typically you would use an expensive OBD2 code reader in order to read the trouble codes to find out what the problem is but the folks at FIXD have made life much easier.

FIXD is a bluetooth OBD2 code reader that connects to your mobile phone. It allows you to read codes, clear check engine lights, as well as other cool features like tracking maintenance and checking to see if the vehicle will pass an emissions test.

This tiny sensor takes very little space in your console or glove box and once you download the FIXD app to your phone, you’ll be ready to diagnose any issues that might arise. Something like this can be extremely handy on a long road trip!

Head on over to the FIXD site and use code GEARHEAD for a whopping 67% discount on their OBD2 sensor!

Dashcam

Having a dashcam (or two) can bring a car enthusiast a lot of value. First, it allows them to record themselves driving on their favorite mountain road or even on the track. But on a daily basis, having a dashcam can resolve accident claims, uncover insurance fraud, and record vandals if they were to dent or scratch their beloved car.

This VOIFO dual dashcam setup records in 4K (front camera) and 1080p (rear camera) and includes critical features, such as: parking modes to detect suspicious activity, accelerometers to detect if the car moves or is hit, GPS logging, night vision, and wireless file transferring. Help them protect their car with a reliable dashcam system!

Jump Starter Box

Nobody likes when their vehicle won’t start unexpectedly, car enthusiast or not. These jump starter boxes are small and lightweight devices can easily be kept in their car and will safely jump start a dead battery instantly, making quick work of a very frustrating situation.

5 Ways For Car Guys To Survive Winter

For the Garage

Although not the flashiest gift idea, every car enthusiast needs new tools now and then. Here are a few options that every car guy will love to have at their disposal.

6-Point Socket or Wrench Sets

“6-point” refers to the number of points the inside of a socket or wrench has. Most consumer-grade tool sets come with 12-point sockets and wrenches. 6-point sockets and wrenches maximize contact on 6-point nuts and bolts, minimizing the likelihood of slipping off, which is something that nobody wants to happen (trust me).

If your car enthusiast does not already have a set of 6-point sockets or wrenches, gifting them a set will surely eliminate frustrating and challenging moments in the garage. This Craftsman set of sockets on Amazon includes a range of 6-point sockets in metric (for most Asian and European vehicles) and SAE (or “English”), for American vehicles.

Rechargeable LED Work Lights

How bright is your garage? Is it bright enough to see all the nooks and crannies of an engine bay or car interior? Probably not. As someone who has used their phone as a flashlight too many times while working on their car, a rechargeable work light is a convenience that can make any job much easier and enjoyable.

These wireless and rechargeable handheld work lights are great for snooping around under a dashboard or within the depths of an engine bay.

Magnetic Pickup Tool

Admit it: anyone who has ever worked on a car has dropped something small under the hood (and they never fall out of the bottom, right?). Fishing tools or parts out of a tiny crevice in the engine bay is a recipe for frustration (and some choice curse words). Eliminate that nonsense with a magnetic pickup tool that’ll easily reach in and retrieve whatever was dropped. Work smarter, not harder.

Vintage signs

Metal signs are a great addition when it comes to garage decor. Designs and styles vary from classic gas station or motor oil companies, to their favorite car brand, or even just funny sayings or slogans. There are tons of possibilities out there depending on what your gearhead’s style is. A vintage sign is a great way to help their garage or mancave feel like home.

Red MR2 Artwork

For Them

Helping a car enthusiast bring their love for cars to other areas of their home can be a big win. We all love to be reminded of how cool cars are whether we’re working, getting dressed, or relaxing by the tv. For many of us, decorative items are a great way to do this.

Bespoke Car Portrait Canvas Print

Every car guy or girl had posters of the cars they liked on their bedroom walls when they were kids. Who says that has to stop now that they’re adults? Up their interior décor game with a car portrait of THEIR car! Simply send in a photo of the car (they should have plenty to choose from) to a company like Respoke Collection, and they’ll transform it into a professional illustration on a canvas print.

Coffee table book

An automotive coffee table book serves two purposes: to entertain or educate the reader, and to add a design touch to a gearhead’s office, living room, or mancave.

Magnus Walker, made popular by the viral Urban Outlaw documentary, has written his own book about the story of his life, entrepreneurship, and becoming a Porsche collector. The book is available in both a soft or hard cover which makes it a great choice to have on display.

There are tons of other great coffee table books that tell automotive stories or the history of your gearhead’s favorite car or brand.

Diecast Model of their car

Diecast models can make for great conversation pieces, and they are plentiful in different grades of quality, accuracy, and detail. There are options that cost $20 and some that cost $2,000.

If you wanted to elevate your gift, like the canvas print option, there are companies that will create a diecast model of THEIR specific vehicle. Custom Diecast Replicas offers bespoke diecast models, commonly adding vinyl tops, swapping wheels and tires, doing engine swaps, custom hoods, and adding stripes to make each car as close as possible to the real car it’s modeled after.

Costs vary depending on the level of detail you would like them to work, and this would be a very cool addition to your car enthusiast’s collection of memorabilia.

You don’t necessarily have to get a diecast model of their car, either. You could go with their favorite supercar, the one they always wanted in high school, or just anything you know they think is really cool. Sometimes if you can’t have the real thing, the next best thing is a model of it!

Hot Wheels for car guys

On a smaller scale, Hot Wheels cars are another great gift idea for anyone who loves cars. These are more than just toys to play with – Hot Wheels is a legendary brand in the automotive industry and they have become wildly collectible. There’s something for everyone whether they’re into muscle cars, exotics, or modified import cars.

Brochures for their car

Cars age, like we all do, regardless of how well we take care of them. If their prized car is more than a few years old or if they picked it up used, finding dealership materials like brochures, specification sheets, and photo books can be a unique look into what their car was described and marketed as when it was new.

Perhaps it’s because I’m in marketing, but I’ve always been interested in how car brands position and present the cars in their portfolio.

Perhaps they’ll learn a feature or two that they didn’t know their car has. Seeing their car as new can provide inspiration to replace that worn-out armrest or find that mismatched trim piece to make their car look new and showroom fresh.

Best of all, these types of materials are readily available online. Simply doing a Google search for their car’s year, make, and model with the keyword “brochure” should show many listings on eBay and other marketplaces for these materials. They’re typically well under $50 per item, too.

Magazine subscription

The internet has become massive within the last couple of decades and with that, came the phrase “Print is dead”. Is that actually true though? I’m not so sure.

Many car lovers also happen to be generally nostalgic people. The same people that swear by their old faithful pickup truck rather than going out and spending $60k+ on a new one might also enjoy the feeling of flipping through pages while they read about the subject they’re passionate about.

Much like a coffee table book, car magazines can also double as decorative items. And for us simple folks, sometimes all it takes is forgetting that you had a new edition showing up in the mail to seal the deal on a relaxing Friday evening!

Summary

So, there you have it! You can’t go wrong with any of these gift ideas for car lovers. Whatever you decide, be sure to pay attention to their car’s uniqueness and what appeals to them. The closer you can relate any of these gifts to their real-life passion, the more memorable and exciting your gift will be to them.

Canadian Gearhead contributor

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