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Buying gifts for teens is rarely easy—unless you’re shopping for a new driver. Few newly-licensed drivers possess the equipment and accessories that can make driving a safer, more pleasant experience.
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Whether the young driver you’re shopping for is a gear head or an image-conscious teen, you’re sure to find something they’ll love on this list of gift ideas for new drivers.
1. A kit for roadside emergencies
Accidents happen. So do flat tires and dead batteries. A well-stocked roadside emergency kit takes up little space in the trunk and can transform many potentially serious incidents into manageable inconveniences.
The General Medi 127-piece roadside car emergency kit includes jumper cables, a tow rope, safety vest, emergency triangle, mini first aid kit and emergency blanket. Everything is packaged in a sturdy rectangular-shaped duffle.
2. A safer way to hold their cellphone
Let’s be real: we all use our cell phones to navigate, and many drivers make (and take) calls while driving. A cell phone holder that facilitates hands-free communication is a practical investment in convenience and safety.
The iOttie Connect phone mount holder includes the Amazon Alexa app, so drivers can use voice commands to get directions, cue a playlist and check weather conditions. It’s also a wireless charger that works with both iOS and Android phones.
3. Everything they need to patch a tire
With a tire patch kit, motivated individuals can safely repair small holes in tires at home—or on the side of the road. The Orcisch 70 piece tire repair kit contains all the tools necessary to remove most sharp objects from tires and seal the hole in about five minutes.
Although the kit comes with written instructions, you’ll probably want to go online with the new driver in your life and watch a DIY video about how to use a tire patch kit so they’ll be somewhat familiar with the process when they need to do it. You may even want to practice on an old tire.
4. An all-in-one charger and tire inflator
Jumper cables are great, but not much help to drivers who aren’t near another car when they experience a dead battery. An all-in-one charger and air compressor is a great gift that allows drivers to independently charge batteries and inflate tires.
The Ultimate Roadside Rescue Assistant is an 8-in-1 rechargeable, portable power source that can function as an emergency car battery jump starter, air compressor, generator, work light, phone charger and emergency flasher. The device must be charged before use (and the first full charging can take up to 24 hours), so encourage your teen driver to plug it in soon after receiving it.
This gift isn’t cheap, but it lasts for years and is a great addition to any garage.
5. Reliable roadside assistance
No one wants to be stranded on the side of the road. A AAA membership gives members access to 24-hour roadside assistance, including tire changes, battery boosts, towing, fuel delivery and lockout services.
If you have a AAA membership, you may be able to add a family member as an associate for free. AAA gift memberships range from approximately $60 per year to $130 per year, depending on the level of service you select. (The Classic level of membership provides up to 5 miles of free towing; a Premier membership will cover a tow of 200 miles.) Price may also vary according to location, as local AAA clubs manage memberships in many parts of the country.
6. A way to keep the “new car smell”
Sports equipment, fast food … odors can accumulate quickly in a car or truck. Help new drivers keep their vehicles smelling fresh with air fresheners that clip onto car vents to effectively disburse odor eliminators.
Febreze Unstopables Car Fresh Vent Clips remove stink for up to 30 days. Drivers simply attach the clip to the car vent and push ‘til they hear a click to activate the fragrance. Clips may need to be changed more frequently in hot weather.
7. An easy way to find lost keys
No more misplaced keys! With a Tile Mate Bluetooth tracker attached to their key ring, teenage drivers can quickly find lost keys.
To use the tracker, drivers must download the Tile app and pair their tracker with their smartphone. Then, they can use the Tile app to ring their tracker, which will emit a noise so they can easily find their keys. (It’s sort of like “calling” your keys.)
The basic Tile Mate tracker has a 250-foot range, which means the tracker will only sound when the user is within 250 feet of their misplaced keys. However, the Tile map also shows the tracker’s most recent location—which may be helpful if the keys accidentally got left behind at school or work.
8. Products to keep their car in top shape
Give them the supplies they need to keep their car clean and shiny. Armor All’s Car Wash and Cleaner Kit includes glass wipes, Ultra Shine and Wax concentrate, Tire Foam and Protectant spray so drivers can scrub and polish their vehicle’s interior and exterior. For fun, you can “wrap” their cleaning kit in a bucket with microfiber cloths.
You may want to consider adding a bottle of stain remover. Folex Carpet Spot Remover works like magic on car upholstery and carpets.
9. A class to hone their driving skills
State-mandated driver’s education classes leave a lot out. The Tire Rack Street Survival course gives learners a chance to practice accident-avoidance maneuvers.
During the day-long course, participants “spend hours behind the wheel,” says Illinois mom Veronica Haskell. “As the day goes on, the parking lots are eventually coated with water to show them what it feels like to hydroplane and covered with corn kernels to simulate sliding on ice. My son had a blast, and the confidence I had in my son’s driving skills when he finished this class was leaps and bounds above when he went in.”
10. A gadget to check tire pressure
Properly inflated tires equals better performance (and safety) and better gas mileage. An easy-to-use tire pressure gauge can help teen drivers stretch their gas money.
Don’t bother purchasing a standard pencil-style tire gauge like the one your dad probably bought you. Opt for a digital gauge that clearly displays tire pressure. The battery-powered (it takes 2 AAA batteries) AstroAI Digital Pressure Gauge includes a LED light so drivers can easily check tire pressure even at night. The device automatically powers off in approximately 30 seconds.
Note: The AstroAI gauge can display pressure in PSI, Bar, KPA, or Kgf/cm2. Be sure the driver knows which to use! (In the U.S., select PSI.)
11. A way to keep their trunk neat and tidy
A teen’s car can quickly become overwhelmed with sports equipment, school supplies and water bottles. Help new drivers prevent clutter (and flying objects!) by gifting a multi-purpose organizer they can use to corral their stuff. The Fortem car trunk organizer is collapsible and adaptable. Two grippy plastic legs and Velcro strips on the bottom of the organizer help it stay in place; drivers can also use the included adjustable straps to anchor the organizer in place.
The standard organizer measures 14.5 by 20 by 10 inches and can be configured to include one, two, or three compartments. This version also includes a detachable lid.
12. Customized license plate frames
License plate frames can add pizazz and personality to a car. Before you buy, though, check state regulations. License plate frame laws vary by state, with most restricting frames that obstruct the letters and numbers on the license plate; some require registration decals to be visible as well. A call to the Department of Motor Vehicles in the driver’s home state should give you all the info you need.
License plate frames come in a variety of shapes and styles. A frame that will work in one state may not be legal in another. You may want to see a mock-up of any frame you’re interested in with the appropriate state license plate.
Zazzle offers a wide variety of customizable frames, including glitter, art-inspired, and patriotic designs.
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Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.