Christmas is Coming

It might be a good time to figure out what that car nut would like.  It also might be a good time to help out that person that isn’t such a car nut.

Have you thought about that son or daughter, spouse or friend, that doesn’t have the same passion you exhibit for cars?  How about giving them a gift certificate where you will change their oil and check their tires for them?

You can pick up an emergency car kit or put one together for a loved one.  If you put together one for them you can make sure that the quality of its contents is consistent.  A useful first aid kit, gloves for working in, a flashlight, a fire extinguisher.  All of those can be useful.  Jumper cables are a standard, but you can put some thought into the recipient and choose something that fits their level of mechanical aptitude.  Some folks won’t have a problem with the big wires and clamps while others would be better off with something that connects through the cigarette lighters.  There are charger packs now that are heavy, but effective battery packs that can be trans ported and hooked up without needing another car around.  Or maybe for some folks the best thing is to buy them a membership in AAA and make sure they have a cell phone.

Have you ever had to change out a flat tire?  If someone you care about has never had the experience now might be the time to go through it in the driveway.  Flats are never considerate enough to happen on flat hard ground and in clear warm weather, but that doesn’t mean that you cannot help someone through the process in the best of conditions.  That way they learn where all the tools are, how the jack works, how and when to loosen the lug nuts, etc. without the distractions and complications of weather, darkness, and soft ground.  That way when you talk about adding some flares, reflectors, and a flat board for under the jack they won’t roll their eyes in bewilderment.

How about a hands free kit for the cell phone?  People are social beings and while we may try to legislate non-use of cell phones while driving, the  reality is that people will want to be in communication with others.  Help your family’s cell phone addict with a hands free kit for the car.  If you have multiple users some of the blue tooth kits are great because they don’t need a holder for a particular phone and will recognize the phone as soon as it “sees” it.  In addition – many of these kits connect through the car’s radio so that when a call comes in it mutes the radio and the conversation is played through the car’s own speakers.  They can be daunting to wire up but there are companies that offer some excellent kits – http://www.siocommunications.co.uk/  has some great products to help make this a plug-and-play solution.

For the true car nut there are things that will be appreciated like a nice aluminum floor jack, or stainless steel tool chest, or carbon fiber hood.  What often means the most are some small things that show you understand.  That could be a die-cast car model or a high quality air pressure gauge.

As always – its the thought that counts.

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This entry was posted in Automobiles, Care and Feeding, Cars, Garages, Servicing Cars. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Christmas is Coming

  1. mark says:

    Jim,

    Those are certainly great ideas. I would just caution the readers that car nuts buying “car gifts” for non-car nuts can be hazardous. I know some wives have adopted a “no cord” rule – i.e. gifts they receive should come without a cord, and no, a cordless drill doesn’t skirt the rule. I know, I know, it’s crazy, but some women prefer jewlery or a sweater to a new snap on socket set or torque wrench. (smile)

    Is the alignment tool above a subtle hint to your friends?

  2. Jim says:

    The alignment tool was the only thing I could find in a hurry to use as an illustration. I figured it would take a hard core car nut to recognize it.

  3. Stephen Furr says:

    Don’t forget that an old discarded cellphone with the appropriate cigarette lighter adapter for power is a good emergency tool, with no service required. All phones will call 911 (or 112, the European equiv) for free without having service activated. So if you have a relative who still doesn’t have a cell phone and you worry about then getting stranded on the highway, give your old phone to them. The best technology for an emergency 911-only phone would be a dual-band digital/analog phone from Sprint or Verizon. The GSM carriers phones (Cingular and T-Mobile) don’t talk on the old analog networks.

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