Wondering what to gift the car fanatic in your life this season? Well, don't even think of putting these under the tree
Novelty Hitch Covers
Electronic Rust Protectors
Fuzzy Steering Wheel Cover
Leopard Steering Wheel Cover
Cartoon Character Floor Mats
Cheap Booster Cables
Stick Figure Families
Cheap Hydraulic Jack
Cheap “Custom” Accessories
Chain License Plate Frame
Dice That Lite
- Cheap Tools
- Novelty Hitch Covers
- Truck Testicles
- Seat Covers
- Electronic Rust...
- Fuzzy Steering...
- Leopard Steering...
- Cartoon Character...
- Cheap Booster Cables
- Dashboard Dancers
- Stick Figure...
- Cheap Hydraulic Jack
- Headlight Eyelashes
- Ferrari Swag
- Cheap “Custom”...
- Fake Options
- Chain License...
- Dice That Lite
- Hot Wheels
Buying gifts for a gearhead should be easy—you head for the automotive department and grab one of everything, right? Wrong! Gearheads are very particular, and there is much to avoid. Unless, of course, you like seeing that awkward “what the hell is this?” expression when your loved one opens a gift like a “New Car Smell” air freshener.
Good tools aren’t cheap, and cheap tools aren’t good. Inexpensive tools are far more likely to break, which they will do at the worst possible time. That can result in vehicle damage or personal injury.
Hitches are for—well, trailers. Not for deer that throw up their arms when you hit the brakes, or fish that squirm around, or anything similar.
Only a very specific sort of enthusiast cares for these things. They likely already have a set. (photo via The359, Wikimedia Commons)
You can put a set under the tree, but only after you’ve done your homework. If the car has seat side airbags, make sure the covers are approved for use with them. Otherwise, they can hinder proper airbag deployment in a crash.
They don’t work, no matter what the box or the ad promises. Instead, if you want to spring for rust prevention, buy your gearhead a certificate for undercoating or oil spray protection.
Seriously, would you put your dirty feet all over Betty Boop’s face?
Flimsy, cheap cables are no bargain when it’s -20C and they’re not doing the job. And these days, with cars so stuffed with computers, many people won’t give you a boost anyway, because they’re afraid of shorting something out. Instead, consider a lithium jump starter. They’re small enough to stash in a glovebox but powerful enough to get a dead battery going, and you can get decent ones for around $100 to $150.
First of all, the Taste Police will pull your gearhead over. And secondly, nothing should be on the dash in the first place. In a serious crash, even lightweight toys can potentially become deadly projectiles, especially if they’re flung by a deploying passenger-side airbag.
There’s a reason companies make money selling stickers that say, “No one cares about your stick figure family.”
When jacks fail and cars fall, people can get very badly hurt. Don’t expect a bargain-basement jack to do a quality tool’s job. And if you do buy a jack, include a set of jack stands. It’s dangerous (and foolhardy) to crawl under a vehicle that’s only held up by a jack, instead of by jack stands.
If you’ve ever even thought about these, you are dead to us. (photo via Wikimedia Commons)
Crap like this Ferrari scooter helmet is acceptable only if your gearhead friend actually owns a Ferrari (and even then, well—). Ditto on the Lamborghini sunglasses, or McLaren jacket, or Rolls-Royce key chain, or anything else along those lines.
Gearheads personalize their vehicles to their specific tastes, and what you think might look great isn’t necessarily on their radar. Also be aware that while many places will happily sell you inexpensive aftermarket lights, depending on what they are and where they’re mounted, they may not always be legal in your gearhead’s jurisdiction.
There’s no shame in not having satellite radio. However, there is shame in pretending with a fake shark fin glued to your roof.
Not unless your gearhead still has both a Trans Am and a mullet.
Seriously, we were surprised you can even buy stuff like this. But don’t. Just don’t.
You definitely don’t want to give your friend one of these diecasts—best send them straight to Autofocus.ca instead. For, uh, safe disposal. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!