Last-Minute Holiday Gift Ideas for the Gearhead on Your List

Let’s face it, we all have a holiday shopping list that seems to grow each year. Some people on our list are easy to shop for.

Others, not so much.

We’re looking at you, car people!

Year after year we have to cater to needs of our family and friends, even if that means a $100 visit to the Yankee Candle store and making the back seat of your car temporarily smell like vanilla cupcakes. Let’s not forget the occasional glitter bombing, and the bleeps and bloops of the latest must-have kids toys.

The only saving grace for gearheads is that we’re actually pretty easy to shop for. Tools always work, and if that fails, we’re usually quite satiated with a bottle of wax and some microfiber towels. (They’re the best, aren’t they?)

Car peeps, don’t make it too hard on your friends. Keep that wish list simple. You can go buy that New Old Stock emblem for your Datsun 510 yourself. Seriously.

If you’re still stumped on what to get for the person who has three of everything because they can’t stop going to swap meets and cruising eBay, then this list is for you.

What to Get

driving glovesDriving Gloves

We may drive a Honda Accord to work every day, but we can pretend we’re racing a D-Type at LeMans in 1955.

Stanley air compressor

Compact Rechargeable Air Compressors

Sure, the giant air compressor from the garage works. But these are way easier to carry on a trip, and save time, space, and hassle. A good buy for any car nut. We hear they work on bicycles, too… but this is a car site.


Jay Leno’s Garage Box

For not a lot of dough, you can get a box of random car care products sent to the automotive fan on your list. Could be wax, could be detail spray. Could be canned peaches for all we know, but they have Jay Leno’s name on it, so they’ll at least be entertaining.

Griot's Garage gift pack
Credit: Griot’s Garage

Anything From Griot’s Garage

Griot’s Garage is to gearheads what Williams-Sonoma is to people who like to cook. It’s a candy store. A very, very expensive candy store. But you can still find modestly-priced accessories and gift packs that are sure to please.

Car magazine collection
Credit: Grass Roots Motorsports

Magazine Subscriptions

Find out what they like to read, and get them an annual subscription. The internet is great (I mean, just look at this site.) but there’s nothing that beats twelve months of home-delivered mechanical ramblings to keep us entertained.



What Not to Get

  • Tools From the Sale Bin- These stocking stuffers are usually no good, and cheap tools are the worst thing on the planet. Sorry, it had to be said.
  • Ice Scrapers- These are the necktie of automotive holiday gifts. They’re useful and nobody likes to buy them, let alone receive them as gifts. Unless they come with a $100 NAPA gift card stuck to them.
  • Car Parts- I say this lovingly. If you know exactly what make, model, year you’re buying the part for, that’s great! Go for it! Sadly, most of the time the parts don’t fit and eBay or the guy you bought it from off of Facebook Marketplace won’t take it back. Buyer beware.
  • Automotive-Themed Clothing- Again, this one can go either way. Best to just steer clear in case the special someone in your life doesn’t actually want to wear a “1990’s Taz with a Chevy bowtie” t-shirt.
  • 12-Volt Accessories- Sure the vacuum that’s powered by your cigarette-lighter is a great gift idea, but how many times will a person use it? At one time, J.C. Whitney even sold a 12-volt blender so you could make smoothies on your family vacation. One day, everyone realized you could swing by Smoothie King instead. Anything powered by your car’s 12-volt power port is usually underpowered and just stays in the back seat or in a compartment until its trade-in time.

Regardless of what you decide to buy this holiday season, we wish you all a Merry Christmas, Happy (belated) Hannukah, Happy Kwanzaa, and of course the very best in 2019!

Thanks for listening to our podcast, and we hope to have a lot more automotive fun in 2019. Stay tuned! 

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