The holidays are a great time to show friends and relatives that you care about them by getting them a thoughtful gift they’ll actually use on a regular basis. A true car enthusiast can never have too many tools. If you’re not mechanically inclined, deciding on a particular gift can be a difficult process. Here are five gifts under $100 that every car buff should have in his or her garage:
1. Lithium Ion Power Screwdriver
A power screwdriver is the first power tool that any do-it-yourselfer should own. It can be used for removing a variety of screws and fasteners on a vehicle, and also has numerous non-automotive applications. The newest battery powered screwdrivers run on lithium ion batteries, which charge faster and provide more usage between charges. For best quality, turn to recognized brands such as Bosch or Craftsman. Typically, name brand lithium ion power screwdrivers with batteries and chargers can be purchased for under $100 at Sears or Amazon.com.
2. Torque Wrench
A torque wrench is necessary for properly performing regular maintenance on any vehicle. Torque wrenches are used for tightening lug nuts, oil filters, and various mechanical and suspension bolts. The first torque wrench a car enthusiast should own is a ⅜” wrench, which is used for lug nuts and larger bolts. It is also useful to have a ½” wrench for smaller bolts that require less torque. Name brand Neiko wrenches can be purchased for as little $30 on Amazon.com. When deciding on a wrench, be sure to look for product reviews from previous purchasers.
3. Socket Set
It’s impossible to do almost any substantial repair on a vehicle without a socket set, complete with ¼”, ½”, and ⅜” ratchets. While the individual components of a set can be purchased separately, it’s usually much more economical to buy the whole set even if there are a few items that will be seldom used. Like any tool, quality is very important to ensure that the tools won’t crack, corrode, or strip bolts. Craftsman tool sets are a terrific value, and can often be purchased on sale at Sears for under $100. Husky tool sets are also good quality, and can be found at Home Depot stores.
There’s nothing more satisfying to an auto enthusiast than removing scratches and scuffs from his or her beloved vehicle. This is best done with an electrical polisher, which can be purchased for $40 at your local Harbor Freight Tools store. Be sure to also pick up some Turtle brand rubbing compound ($6), Turtle polishing compound ($6), a Meguiar’s brand wool buffing pad ($13), and a Chemical Guys brand swirl remover ($8) from Amazon.
5. Floor Jack with Stands
Routine maintenance ranging from an oil change to brake replacement requires lifting the vehicle off the ground. While most vehicles come with a jack in the trunk, these jacks are intended for emergency situations, not for regular use. Every DIY enthusiast should own a floor jack for lifting up a vehicle, as well as jack stands for bracing the car in the air during repair. These can be purchased at your local Harbor Freight or Sears store. Be sure to select a jack that can lift at least 2 tons, and extends from its resting position to the car’s jacking point in one or two pumps. Some sports cars require so-called racing jacks, which are designed for cars that sit low to the ground.