The holidays are quickly approaching, and with all the seasonal excitement comes new trends and must-have items. For those looking to impress the car lover on their gift list, there are upgrades that can provide them an improved look, better performance, and more comfort and convenience.
Below are some suggestions (and predictions) for must-have items for the car enthusiast on your holiday shopping list.
For those passionate about all things auto, it is especially important to keep up with new accessories that are designed to make the driving experience even more enjoyable. One product category to consider is LED lights, which allow for a unique level of customization while providing improved safety for the driver. LED headlights are a more concentrated light source so drivers can see further, whether at night or during poor weather conditions. As an added bonus, LED lights have an extended lifespan that will last long after the holiday season.
Another “add-on” that is popular for the enthusiast driver is performance exhaust kits. These kits serve several purposes, including improved styling, increased horsepower and torque, and the distinct sound only an aftermarket upgrade can give. If you are shopping for someone focused on looks, exhaust systems made of polished steel are especially popular. Luckily, for those shopping for systems that will change the sound of the vehicle, many sites now provide audio files that will allow you to hear the end result before you buy.
Considering the many benefits a performance kit provides, it is a substantial bang for your buck. However, if you’re not ready to make a big ticket purchase, you can also buy performance parts, such as exhaust tips, incrementally.
Lastly, you can never go wrong with a unique body kit, especially as the “sporty look” has taken off in recent years. These kits allow drivers to make their prized possession stand out on the road, and have the added benefit of improved aerodynamics. If you aren’t sure if your car lover is ready for a full vehicle overhaul, these parts can also be purchased individually – this will help ease them into their auto makeover.
Benefiting The Family
Once you start a family, the focus for car fans often shifts from flashy looks and performance toward staying safe and organized. In may cases, the vehicle has become a work and play station. For the family man or woman, gifts that can protect both the owner and the vehicle are most practical, and in turn most popular. Custom seat covers and floor mats preserve the car’s interior and protect from outside forces that can be a pain to remove, such as mud or snow.
Another way to protect against potential stains and messes is by keeping all participants happy with in-car entertainment systems. While many new models come with these systems pre-installed, vehicle owners with older rides have been eager, in recent years, to modify their vehicle with video systems that install in the headrests or pull down from the ceiling.
While these add-ons are all good options, keeping the family safe and secure is the chief concern. As vehicle safety continues to evolve, so does the availability of high-tech safety accessories like back-up cameras, 360-degree vision cameras, and devices that provide a “birds eye view” of all potential blind spots. Consider the long-term value this could provide to a potential friend or family member when thinking of your gift list.
For truck drivers especially, their ride is a source of pride and they will look to accessories that show off their unique tastes. Bars, racks, and aftermarket lighting accessories all serve the dual purpose of added style with increased functionality. A truck’s bed is one of its most prized features as it can make transporting just about anything significantly easier. Consider giving the gift of protection with custom bed liners that will save the truck from damage and protect its future value from issues like rust and corrosion.
Certain liners are even built to block out extreme weather and airborne pollutants.
For younger drivers, tech and gadgets have been an integral part of their day-to-day lives for as long as they can remember. For this group of car lovers, consider electronics that keep them connected and make driving safer. Some must-have items include Bluetooth kits, phone mounts, or additional chargers.
While not as glamorous as gifting the latest in connected gear, every new driver needs a few basics things to ensure they are prepared for the worst case scenario. If you want to focus on safety, personal emergency kits should contain a blanket, flashlight, portable shovel, and flares. As we approach colder weather, it also wouldn’t hurt to look into high-quality ice scrapers or snow brushes for a practical gift.
Every holiday season, the aftermarket industry is tasked to address changing consumer preferences, especially as our cars become increasingly more connected and tech-driven. With new, high-quality products being introduced every day, you’re sure to find the gift that is right for the auto enthusiast in your life.
Richard Reina is a Product Trainer at CARiD.com and lifelong automotive enthusiast.