It’s the time of year you wonder what to get the car lover in your life, (not to mention come up with your very own wish list.)
Of course, if Santa were to, say, park a new car in the driveway, that would be the ultimate gift right? But we can’t pretend we’ve been that good this year.
So with that in mind we’ve compiled a list of some other gift ideas to give or to receive. They’re all here in our 2016 Car Pro Holiday Gift Guide.
Garmin DriveSmart 70 LMT: $350
If you’re tired of your friend, significant other or family member always being late because they are constantly getting lost, the obvious gift choice is a car GPS system.
Prices vary along with the company, make and model. Garmin is a go-to brand and its DriveSmart 70 LMT is a mid-priced option. It features a 7-inch screen along with Bluetooth so you can connect it with your phone.
This handy car gadget will give you alert warnings for sharp curves, speed changes, railroad crossings, as well as animal crossings. Plus, it notifies you when driving the wrong way on a one-way street. It even sends warnings for nearby school zones. Voice-activated navigation is another feature.
Leather Seats: 1,995 – $2,295
Who doesn’t enjoy sitting in leather seats. Especially when you’re sitting in rush hour traffic. If you give these as a gift, the recipient won’t be able to help thinking of you every time they’re in the car seat.
Both local and national companies offer seat upholstering. Katzkin is a well-known reupholstering company and its 2-row interiors generally range from $1,995 – $2,295. It costs more to add a third row.
Katzkin also offers tailor-made custom MOPAR leather interiors for Fiat Chrysler vehicles. You can check for an authorized installer on its website. Most installations take about 2 days.
Custom Wheels: $150 to $500 Each
Credit: Vibe Motorsports
Car customization is big these days, which brings us to wheels. Aftermarket wheels personalize a vehicle and they’re bound to make a driver who wants to stand out from the crowd very happy. (Tip: Black powder coated wheels are very popular right now.)
Costs vary widely, but we’re going to assume you’re not going to be shelling out $4,000 to $5,000 dollars for super pricey wheels. The more reasonable sweet spot is between $150 and $500 bucks per wheel. There are plenty of options to choose from including: Alloy, Magnesium, Aluminum and Chrome.
Prices of course depend on the make and model and what type you choose. Also you should always consider the size of the actual tires and vehicle specifications. So this is a gift we’d recommend not making a surprise.
Cargo Captain : $149
The Cargo Captain is for the person on your gift list who spends the most time in the back of their pickup loading or unloading cargo.
The genius of this device is that if you use it, you don’t have to actually hop into the truck bed yourself. It lays in the bottom of the truck bed, you put your cargo on top of it and presto, just pull the handle and whatever you’re unloading comes your way. It’s designed to lay in a ridge of the truck bed so it won’t get in the way. (Note: it does not function well in truck beds with plastic drop-in liners.)
There are also several different handle lengths to accommodate most truck bed lengths.
AAA 42-Piece Road Emergency Kit – $25-$30
For the person who never seems to be prepared, there can be no better gift than this.
It’s AAA’s 42-piece Road Emergency Kit. Because let’s face it you never know when there will be an emergency and it’s better to be prepared than not.
It includes things like a flashlight with batteries, an 8-foot 8-gauge heavy duty booster cable, duct tape, and yes, even an emergency poncho.
Radar Detectors: $200-$650
For the driver with the lead foot, an always welcome gift is a radar detector. According to AAA, they’re legal everywhere in passenger vehicles except in Virginia and Washington D.C.
The variables you want to consider are the detector range and false readings. You want the radar detector to have a high radar range and you also want it be able to filter out false “positive” readings.
There are inexpensive options under $100. But we’d recommend starting around $200 and going up from there. While more expensive doesn’t always equal better, it generally does here. Detectors priced $200 and up generally have more range and fewer “false” positives. Escort, Cobra and Valentine One have great reputations. Beltronics is another one to consider. Less expensive off-brands aren’t out of the question, but double check their features and performance.
A pricier option is the Escort Max 360, which sells for $649 on Escort’s website. (Tip: We’ve seen this one recently on sale on Best Buy’s website for $496.99.) This radar detector is enabled with Bluetooth and GPS. It has a preload database for speed and red-light cameras. It also offers 360-degree laser protection and has arrows that display where the police laser signal is coming from. It also hooks up to a smartphone app called ESCORT Live, a real-time data network that gives you warnings reported by other area users.
Auto Heatshield – under $50
Credit: Auto Heatshield
Who doesn’t need a car sunshade. It’s the budget-conscious gift perfect for any driver on your holiday shopping list.
The Auto Heatshield is a reflective windshield sunshade that protects a vehicle’s interior from sun damage. Each sunshade is custom cut for a particular vehicle using advanced computer-aided laser technology.
Auto Heatshield says a car interior can rise above 110 degrees without one. So unless you’re trying to bake cookies on your dashboard, we’d recommend protecting it from the sun’s heat.
You’d think with all the new factory-installed car security technology out there you wouldn’t need a separate alarm system, but it never hurts. They are popular items on many car lover’s wish lists.
You can get basic aftermarket systems for under $100. But you’ll get more features with a mid-range option from $150-$300 and if you can afford $300 and up some systems offer cool features like 360-degree camera views that record everything going on with your vehicle.