8 last-minute gifts for the car lover in your life

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A scale model of the legendary Porsche 911.
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collectablediecast.com

You know the feeling: the holidays are almost here, but you’re still a few gifts short.

Luckily, if one of the people on your list loves cars, you can easily pick up a little something to keep their motor running.

It can be pricey, or it can be a bargain.

But the variety of gifts is considerable. It ranges from the very useful to the very thoughtful.

Best of all, car lovers are not that tough to please. Any modest gift is bound to out a smile on their faces.

Here are some of my personal favorite last-minute gifts:


A WeatherTech gift card.

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Screenshot via YouTube

WeatherTech is to car floormats what the iPhone is to smartphones: the premier offering.

ANY car lover on your list who lives in a place where the weather can turn nasty in winter will appreciate the change to buy a set of WeatherTech’s customized floor mats.

In fact, get ready to have a true car lover shed a tear when they open this gift. I recommend getting a relatively large-denomination card, because WeatherTech products are fairly expensive.


An actual car.

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Hollis Johnson

Okay, I’ll admit that this one is sort of nuts, but there’s a long tradition of ushering a loved one out to the driveway on a holiday evening or morning to show them … a brand new car!

Extravagant as it might sound, this is a great time of year to be buying or leasing a new vehicle. Best of all, dealers are open for business. If you head over to the lot or showroom, you can make a deal and drive home the same day.

We don’t recommend specific deals, but we do monitor the market. Beyond the usual efforts by automakers to clear out end-of-year inventory, some dealers and car companies are offering especially good choices.

For example, small-cars and mid-size sedans have been selling poorly relative to pickups and SUVs. So have sports cars. With inventory having built up to too-high levels for these vehicles, automakers and dealers want to move the metal, so they’re offering excellent prices and financing/leasing terms.

Additionally, due to the backlash from its Dieselgate scandal, Volkswagen has been offering some unbelievable deals to maintain it already weak market share in the US. VW’s lineup of cars and SUVs is quite solid, so now is a good time to check it out.


A portable jump-starter/charger.

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Screenshot via Amazon.com

The days of carrying jumper cables around in the your car are coming to and end.

A new wave of small jump-starters – compact enough to fit into a glove compartment – has arrived.

They’re easy to use and can also be pressed into service to charge smartphones, tablets, and other devices.

They’re also relatively inexpensive, at under $100.

You can also give the gift of a much more powerful charger, the type that tow-truck crews carry around. That’s a fine option for keeping around the house when a dead battery strikes.


A satellite radio subscription.

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Matthew DeBord/Business Insider

You can buy aftermarket SiriusXM units for your car, but in many cases, the car owners in your life may have lapsed SiriusXm subscription.

Often, when someone buys a new car, they get an introductory subscription for a few months, but when it comes time to renew, they either forget or decide that it isn’t worth it.

In fact, SiriusXM is one of my favorite streaming services. A plus is that if you have a subscription for your car, you can also use the SiriusXM app to stream a wide range of music, talk, sports, news, and entertainment at home.

Like WeatherTech, SiriusXM offers gift cards in several denominations.


Parking in NYC.

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Matthew DeBord/BI

Yep, believe it or not, you can give the gift of parking to the New Yorker or NYC area driver in your life.

The parking cards come in $20, $50, and $100 denominations, according to the Department of Transportation.


A flashlight.

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Screenshot via Maglite

If you don’t have a flashlight in your car, you need to change that immediately. If the car lovers in your life don’t, you need to change that, too.

Just get a Mini Maglite. This outstanding, durable, compact flashlight has stood the test of time.

It might be the best $22 gift you can give.


A heated steering-wheel cover.

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Matthew DeBord/Business Insider

Heated steering wheels are becoming a thing in new cars – many luxury owners now expect them. I certainly don’t like it when I test a car in chilly conditions that doesn’t have one.

Owners of older vehicles, however, are still making do with gloves on cold mornings. Me, for example. My 2011 Toyota Prius lacks a heated steering wheel.

But why? Here’s a heated cover from Hammacher Schlemmer that looks like a decent bet for about $80.


A scale model of a collectible car.

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collectablediecast.com

Famous, collectible Porsches – for example – cost a fortune, but scale models of famous, collectible Porsches are totally affordable

Take the 1973 Porsche Carerra, an iconic version of what many car nuts consider to be the greatest sports car every build by human hands. These can sell for half a million dollars at auction. But you don’t need to have that kind of coin if you want to “collect” the car.

A scale model exhibits all the detail of the full-size dream machine – and doesn’t require a climate-controlled garage for storage!