With the holidays just around the corner, the time is right to start thinking about gifts for those who've been lucky enough to make your list. Whether your chosen recipients are car lovers or not, you can't go wrong with selecting gifts that are based around the car — after all, the automobile has become an inescapable fact of life for most Americans.
Below are 10 car-themed gifts, listed in alphabetical order. Some offer safety, some offer convenience and some offer comfort. One thing these selections all have in common is a relatively affordable price; each pick rings in at less than $100.
AAA membership provides benefits ranging from towing assistance to emergency fuel delivery to vehicle locksmith service. A one-year gift membership allows you to share these benefits with someone on your list.
2. Closed-Hood Car Jump Starter — $19.99.
A dead car battery usually means that greasy hoods have to be raised and sparking jumper cables have to be connected, but the Closed-Hood Car Jump Starter presents a simpler, less messy solution. The device's cables connect each car via cigarette lighter outlets; this means that a charge can be gained without hoisting the hood or worrying whether you've connected to the wrong terminal.
3. Deluxe Mini Fridge-Warmer With Digital Thermostat — $99.99.
This portable fridge chills to 44 degrees Fahrenheit and warms to 140 degrees F, making it a great ally on road trips. It holds up to 20 liters, and comes with two adaptors for in-car use.
4. Eco Touch Complete Car Care Kit — $79.99.
Green household cleaning products — which get the job done using ingredients that are gentle on the body and the environment — are more popular than ever, thanks to increased awareness regarding the potentially harmful toxins used in conventional household cleaners. Featuring effective products made from natural, bio-renewable sources such as soy, corn and palm, the Eco Touch Complete Car Care Kit takes this green approach and applies it to car cleaning.
5. Lemur SafeDriver Vehicle Monitor — $69.95.
If your gift list includes the parent of a teen driver, you'll want to take a look at Lemur's SafeDriver. Designed to fit on a car's key chain, this wireless vehicle monitor allows parents to keep an eye on their teens' driving behavior by recording things like maximum speed and distance traveled.
6. Moshi Voice Control Bluetooth Handsfree Car Kit — $79.99.
With more and more states passing laws that make it illegal to use handheld cell phones while driving, Bluetooth — which facilitates hands-free cell phone use while behind the wheel — is quickly becoming an automotive necessity. Unlike many aftermarket Bluetooth kits, the Moshi Voice Control Bluetooth Handsfree Car Kit makes it possible for calls to be placed and received without pressing any buttons; it's fully operational by voice once turned on.
7. Oreck Car Vac — $39.95.
Equipped with a brush, a crevice tool and a built-in headlight, this handy car vacuum is a clean freak's best friend. It plugs into a car's cigarette lighter and comes with a cord that's long enough to allow it to reach the trunk.
Anyone who's ever been stuck in his or her car with a dead iPhone and no USB cable for charging will appreciate the usefulness of Scosche's Charge and Sync Cable. This cable folds into a neat little package that attaches to a car's key chain, making forgotten USB cables a thing of the past.
9. Trillium CozyCushion Heated Car Seat Massager — $35.95.
The CozyCushion offers radiant heat designed to warm and soothe an aching back. As if that weren't enough, this portable seat cushion also delivers a vibrating massage, governed by a hand-held controller.
10. Zipcar Zipcertificate — $50 and up.
Zipcar is a car-sharing service that allows members to reserve cars for a couple of hours or for an entire day. With the company's Zipcertificate, you can give that carless person in your life the gift of mobility.