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Holiday Gift Guide for the Car Lover in Your Life

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author photo by Lindsay Martell December 2016

Sure, a gift card is easy, but it gets zero points for creativity. Same goes for a bottle of wine or that cinnamon candle you found on triple clearance. For the car enthusiast in your life, you need a tech-centric gift guide -- because even though you get giddy looking at the cranberry-infused potpourri you nabbed for 50 percent off, that ain't gonna cut it for the gearheads you love.

According to Richard Reina, Product Training Director at CARiD, shopping for the car lover in your life means choosing gifts that will enhance their everyday driving experience.

"Unique, tech-focused gifts will surprise the person on your list and improve any trip for the whole family during this busy holiday travel season," he says.

It's a Boss Thing

First up, let's talk entertainment. Nothing's worse than heading off to Grandma's house with a kid screaming, "I can't hear!" when you fire up his favorite audiobook. Fortunately, the Boss audio receiver will stylishly suit every audiophile's needs. It can play content from DVD/CD/USB/SD, MP3, WMA, FLAC 24-bit high-res audio, FM/AM and smartphones, and it's Bluetooth-compatible. It also includes a GPS navigation system with a preloaded map covering all 50 states, Puerto Rico and Canada. And if that doesn't sound sweet enough, it's also easy on the eyes -- no clunky units cluttering up your dash. It'll cost you about $260.

An Extra Set of Eyes

Some of us don't have the luxury of a preinstalled backup camera, but that doesn't mean we need to go sans-camera. Why not give your auntie (the one with the seemingly ancient Accord) an easy-to-install one? The Pyle Low Lux License Plate Backup Camera makes an awesome gift. It installs above the license plate in a snap, and it's equipped with a marine-grade waterproof camera that's prepared withstand the rough winter weather (Auntie's no stranger to the bone-chilling effects of a December polar vortex). The camera also comes with scale lines that help drivers maneuver safely into tight parking spots or out of crowded highway lanes. And with Auntie's penchant for loving a good post-holiday deal, we're gonna say this is a must-have gift. And at just about $43, you won't blow your holiday budget.

Safe n' Secure

You may think the double chirp of a car lock is enough to keep thieves away, but it isn't. Do the right thing for a loved one, and invest some cash into a robust security system. The Omega Vehicle Security and Keyless Entry System comes with keyless entry and a door-, ignition- and transmitter-activated anti-carjack that will deter even the most sophisticated crook. It'll set you back less than $70, but isn't the peace of mind that comes with having an extra sense of security practically priceless? We think so.

The Long and Winding Road

Fumbling for your smartphone to glance at a map is a big no-no, so why not gift a girlfriend with a sturdy windshield mount like the Bracketron Windshield Suction Cup Mount? It offers superior grip on uneven or textured surfaces, while being resistant to any pesky vibrations, including the ones you experience on those gravel roads on the way to Christmas dinner. Each mount is a cinch to install and has such features as a quick lock-and-release lever for easy transfer to another car. With that kind of simplicity -- and at just under $20 -- your gal pal may even let you give it a whirl.

A Clean, Well-Lighted Place

Your dad has a rapid-fire wit and a brilliant exuberance for life. Try to match his illuminating personality with an LED headlight-conversion kit by Lumen. Shoot the breeze with him as you take a few easy steps to replace dull or ineffective headlights with brighter bulbs that will enhance any drive (especially those crazed bumper-to-bumper treks to yet another holiday fete). Your penny-pinching pop will also love the long lifespan of these bulbs and the significant energy savings they offer. The kits range from $139.95 to $159.95, and they're a sparkling steal to help light his way.

So think twice about that throwing down cash on a Snuggie or a pair of fishbowl bookends. The treasures in a holiday gift guide should be techy, not tacky.

This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
Holiday Gift Guide for the Car Lover in Your Life - Autotrader