Car Lover in Your Life? Check Out These Thoughtful Gift Ideas


You’re probably not going to be putting a huge red bow on a new car for a gift this Christmas. Where do you get those big red bows anyway? But if you do have a car enthusiast in your life, here are some great gift ideas for car lovers, no matter what their specific interest is.

If your special person is a car enthusiast or motorcycle rider, chances are good they will appreciate owning some of the finer accessories for their hobby.

Magazine Subscriptions

Even though everything is available to read online, it is still nice to receive a car magazine in the mail once a month. Some people even save them and build collections of their favorite magazines.

Which one to choose, without asking and ruining the surprise? Pay attention to what magazine they pick up to browse through in book stores, grocery stores and the like. The categories of car publications loosely divide into American muscle cars, antiques, European cars, Asian “tuner” cars and trucks.

Motorcycle publications will loosely fall into the categories of travel, off road, adventure touring, sport bike, cruisers and general all-around motorcycling. There also are a few European motorcycle magazines for sale on this side of the pond.

Books & DVDs

It’s too cold to work in the garage right now, and a magazine only lasts so long. Books are a great diversion during the cold winter months. Get some gift book ideas by Googling their favorite automotive hero. Autobiographies signed by the author are always a nice gift.

Just like books, DVDs are great gift ideas for car lovers to keep them out of the cold garage in the winter. Think about classic movies that center around cars, or movies whose hero owns a distinctive car. Anything is good, and if one is good, then two is better.

Factory Repair Manual

These are expensive books, (a lot more expensive than a silk tie), so don’t be afraid to present one as a special gift. Some may be hard to find.

When working on a car or motorcycle there is no higher technical authority than the factory repair manual. Yours might come in several volumes, so start saving now. Buy online or through your local dealer’s parts department.


Forget all the little gift-packaged tool sets that you see for sale in hardware stores this time of year. Get serious about your giving. Nothing says great gift for car lovers like a new air compressor or other must-have tools for working on cars.

If you go with an air compressor, be ready to plop down $300 to $500 fir a good one. If you order online, you might get free home delivery. Throw in some air tools and you are set for some serious romance over the holidays.


Few things are certain in life, but one thing for sure is that everybody wants a leather jacket. Not just any leather jacket, but one that looks worn, fits perfectly, and sends the message to the world that your special person feels even more special in that jacket.


Motorcyclist? It has to be a black leather jacket. Or you can go a different route and get them some rain gear.

Is he or she a sports car owner, especially of a European brand? Possibly weather-beaten brown leather will do, not the shiny kind of leather that has a plastic look and feel. If the jacket looks like a WWII pilot wore it, then that is the right one.

Should the jacket have insignias? That is a very personal decision. Some people identify so much with their brand of motorcycle that they have the name of it tattooed on their body. On the other hand, there are people who don’t like being a walking billboard for capitalist companies. The answer to insignias, then, depends on how well you know that special person.

Auto Parts

No, not just any auto parts. Special parts that the person would have to save up for. Depending on your budget, a set of four nice custom wheels will cost you, say, $700 to $3,000, or much more. Tires are extra, good tires are a lot extra. But hey, wheels and tires have more utility than a diamond ring or Rolex watch, right? You’ve got to be practical about all this gift giving.

For less than the price of wheels and tires, you can get speed equipment. Make sure it is returnable, because you’re probably going to buy the wrong thing. But it’s the thought that counts.

For small gifts, very high-quality wax and car polish is always appreciated. It’s hard to say why, but receiving a gift of fine car wax has the same effect on men that receiving gift chocolate has on women. Go figure.

Glove Box Items

Nobody keeps gloves in their glove box. It does, however, serve the same purpose that a junk drawer does in a kitchen. A glove box collects stuff, and lots of it. Add some more items to the collection.

Cell phone chargers are good, but extremely bright military-grade flashlights are even better (everybody likes those). High-quality tire pressure gauges are a nice gift. Buy them online. Expect to pay $15 to $40 for a nice one.

Trunk Items

Extra heavy-duty jumper cables are expensive. To count as a gift, it has to be copper, and heavy gauge at that. Make sure they are at least two car-widths wide, which is about 16 feet.

Get a pair of safety goggles to go with the jumper cables, along with some inexpensive brown cloth work gloves, available cheap at your favorite hardware store.

If you’ve been married a long time, there are only so many toasters and microwave ovens that you can give as gifts. And with years comes practicality, you want to receive gifts that you can actually use. First aid kits are nice to have, better if you know something about emergency first aid and can assemble your own kit. Include a pair of paramedic’s scissors, simply because none of their friends will have those in their cars. Bragging rights are important when showing off gifts.

AAA Membership

If you drive used cars you need a membership to AAA, or any other roadside assistance subscription. The towing feature itself will pay for the membership several times over. Nothing says “you care” like a 24-7 road service card. And don’t get the basic membership either. Splurge for an enhanced membership deal.