The Top 10 Gifts for Gearheads

December 12, 2008

As you may have guessed, the holidays are right on top us, vigorously shaking us down for our hard-earned duckets. But you don't have to bleed your bank account dry to get into the good graces of your resident car guy or gal. We're tossing you a holiday life vest here - a collection of gift ideas that're guaranteed to be hits with individuals who have 10w30 following through their veins.

By Brad Iger

The following article does not represent the opinions of Spike TV or its affiliates.


10. Leatherman Tool


Any gearhead worth their salt has a little bit of MacGyver in them, and a solid Leatherman multi-tool is a must-have item when you're in a bind. Whether you need a bottle opener, a screwdriver, a pocket knife or a pair of vice grips, this handy little gadget will save their bacon, and make an awesome stocking stuffer. Get one here. [Leatherman]


9. Digital Tire Gauge


When Obama started touting the virtues of keeping one's tire pressure in check, many people scoffed at him. In reality, he was spot on, as low tire pressure not only causes a poor ride quality, but also cut into gas mileage by as much as 10%, not to mention premature wear on tires and a greater chance for a blowout. That means this keychain tire gauge will pay for itself in about.. five minutes. Amazon is selling these things for next to nothing.

8. Dynolicious



If your resident gearhead has an iPod Touch or an iPhone, this is an absolute must have application. Utilizing the device's built-in accelerometer, Dynolicious gives the user all sorts of performance data, including peak horsepower, quarter mile times, reaction times - the works. But how accurate is it? This thing's accuracy bested a standalone performance meter costing several hundred dollars! Pick it up from the iTunes store for under fifteen bucks.


7. K&N Air Cleaner replacement/CAI


While it may not be the sexiest gift of the bunch, it is one of the most immediately useful and cost-effective ones. All vehicles use air filters, but the stock ones are typically cheaper paper-type filters that restrict air flow and thus cut into both mileage and horsepower. Advanced air filters like those from K&N are re-usable for the lifetime of your car, yield better gas mileage, and actually provide a noticeable boost in power as well. These should be in every car. If you feel like really splurging, go the Cold Air Intake route from K&N for even more improvement, albeit at a steeper price. [K&N]

6. DC Power Supply



Perhaps your gearhead is sick of looking around for car charger adaptors for cell phones. Maybe he or she takes a laptop on long road trips, or needs to use, say, powered flood lights on occasion? Well, with this DC power converter, anything you can plug into a wall socket can now be powered/charged right in your car. Incredibly useful and dirt cheap. [Amazon]



5. Detailing Kit


Finally getting a project out on the road and showing it off produces a feeling of pride which can't be replicated any other way. And one of the cardinal rules of hot rodding is to look good while cruising. So this one is basically a no-brainer gift for anyone looking to gussy-up that ride. Hell, even if it's got no paint, you can still give the tires and chrome some bling.  Pick one up the whole package here. [Amazon]


4. Bullit on DVD/Blu Ray


If you know a car enthusiast who still hasn't seen this movie, you are doing them a great disservice if you don't get them this movie. Beyond being a solid crime thriller with loads of awesome Detroit iron in every scene, the duel between McQueen's '68 Mustang fastback and the baddies' '68 Dodge Charger R/T is the car chase by which all others are judged by, and it still remains at the top of the heap, even after forty years. Pick up the collector's edition right here. [Amazon]


3. Exotic Car Rental


So you'd love to get your gearhead a new Audi R8 or Corvette ZR1, but your bank account keeps reminding you it's not an option, right? Well here's a solution - exotic car rental. Rent the car for a week, drive the crap out of it, return it. No car payments, no 2nd mortgage, no insane insurance rates. Besides, commuting to work in a Pagani Zonda is probably not as fun as it sounds. [Exotic Car Rental Directory]

2. Bluetooth Stereo


If your car guy or gal has been rocking out to an older stereo for a while, there are two fairly recent major advancements in car stereos to consider. First, with the advent of the personal MP3 player, having a car stereo with 3.5mm auxiliary jack has become so important that it's nearly mandatory by industry standards today.

And if you live in California, you must use a hands-free device to use your phone in the car, by law. So why not kill two birds with one stone here by upgrading them to a solid new head unit with Bluetooth and an AUX jack? These things can be had for under 150 bones now. Crutchfield is the place.


1. Handheld GPS Navigation


For a long time, handheld GPS units were prohibitively expensive. However, over the last couple years, the price has dropped significantly, and now they're undoubtedly worth the coin. Perhaps your gearhead isn't crazy about asking for directions? Well they'll never have to again with one of these - even if you miss a turn, a device such as this Tom Tom will just re-route you automatically. No more Thomas Guides, no more Google Map printouts strewn around the car. Truly indispensable. Get one at Amazon.