Hopefully you read the The 35 Gifts that Car enthusiasts and Track Day people actually want.
Naturally, after writing part 1 I continued to see more and more exciting gift ideas. I also got some great feedback from readers, so here you go…. 11 MORE Holiday gift Ideas for ACTUAL Racing and HPDE Enthusiasts:
Items are marked with $ “Least Expensive (a gift in the 1-$10 range), $$ Relatively Cheap (10-$40 range), $$$ Decent Sized Gift ($40-100), and $$$$ Big Budget Gift ($100+).
11) Remove Before Flight Tags: $ Least Expensive
These tags can come in handy for various uses, from keychains to important systems. I keep one attached to my fire system safety pin, it makes it much easier to see if the pin is in or out.
10) Motorsports/Car Magazine Subscriptions: $-$$ Pretty Cheap
Does anyone still read print? Magazines are nice to have around, but traditional “Car magazines” are often full of paint detail advertisements and gloating reviews for ridiculous “track cars” that none of us could afford to bring on track. Motorsports magazines like “Grassroots Motorsports” are closer to real, relevant, honest content and should excite any true motorsports enthusiast.
9) AAA Membership: $$$ Decent Sized Gift
For those who drive their cars to the track, or even those who tow but don’t quite trust their tow vehicles, gifting a AAA Membership can take a lot of stress away from the experience. If something does go south with your car or truck, instead of ruining your weekend running around trying to coordinate a way home… an easy button for a flatbed home is nice.
Note: I’ve watched AAA put a broken truck on the flatbed and hook the trailer to the back of their tow truck but I’ve heard they aren’t supposed to take the trailer. So if you are in that position, be very nice to the driver (and maybe carry some cash for bribe money) and it may work out for you.
8) Thread chaser/Repair Kits (Tap and Die): $$$ Decent Sized Gift
Nobody purposely TRIES to crossthread a bolt, but it happens. It always seems to happen the most on a late night as you’re rushing to finish a car for that weekend’s race. Maybe you’re reassembling some not-so-clean parts and the threads are boogered up a bit, maybe the angle wasn’t just right but you figured you’d try anyway. Having a decent Thread Chaser/Repair kit is essential to anyone who works on their own car. Note: Unless you have a car made before the 80’s, expect to use a Metric kit much more than SAE, but it’s still good to have both.
7) OBD2 reader: $$ Relatively Cheap
Considering how cheap these are, they are an absolute Must Have. Any car 1996 or newer has an OBD2 port and can use these. For less than $30 there are a ton of options for these “Code Readers” that can not only read trouble codes, but can also send realtime engine and diagnostics info to various Apps for Data and Gauges (On Newer cars). If you’re at a track day and that Check Engine Light comes on, it helps to easily be able to see what it’s for.
Note: Early OBD2 cars may still appear to have a lot of useful live information through the port, but often their refresh rates are too slow to be used for motorsports data and gauge-app purposes.
6) Digital Angle Finder (Camber Gauge) $$ Relatively Cheap
An essential part of a home made camber-test rig is the digital angle finder. Add a piece of angle-iron cut to the diameter of your wheel and you’re good to go. Sure, you can also measure camber by dropping a string, measuring points on the wheel, and doing some basic trigonometry… but that takes forever when making minor adjustments. A digital angle gauge can save a ton if time.
5) Radiator Hose Clamp Pliers: $$ Relatively Cheap
A good friend and professional mechanic has given me a lot of advice of the years we’ve been friends. I hate to admit that he’s always been right, whether or not I’ve chosen to listen to him. One of his pieces is that OEM style radiator hose clamps on good quality hoses (OEM if possible) is ALWAYS the best. Sure enough, a few hoses on my car secured with worm clamps started leaking. I swapped back to OEM and leaks stopped. However, some engine bays make it very tough to get a pair of vise grips onto the clamps. This tool may be a bit of a luxury, but for cramped engine bays may save a lot of cursing and pinched fingers.
4) Radiator Fill Kit: $$ Relatively Cheap
This is one of my #1 all time most helpful tools: Seriously, If you don’t have one of these, get it on your list or just buy it right now. This little kit does wonders with bleeding modern cooling systems that are notoriously tough to burp air pockets from. The kit secures a funnel to the top of your radiator and once you fill the funnel about halfway it effectively raises the highest point of your system, making it easy for air to escape. This also makes the the corresponding rises and drops of coolant a nonissue vs when they’d previously pour out all over the garage. Once the system is good, insert the plunger and remove the funnel (saving the extra coolant), cap the radiator and go.
3) Action Cameras: $-$$$$ Whatever you want to spend
There are countless ways to record video on track. Whether it’s a requirement for racing, you’re collecting Data for improvement, or just trying to get cool clips for Instagram, everyone has an excuse or wanting video. You can find a camera to fit any gift budget: From a hand-me-down cell phone, to knockoff Action Cam, to the latest Gopro Hero:
One can never have too many cameras. One in the car, one more facing forward, one facing backward, one under the car looking at suspension, one pointed at passengers, etc etc etc.
2) Cool Shirt/Suit: $$$$ Big Budget Gift
Cool suits are quickly becoming more and more popular. If you are unfamiliar, they are basically a water-cooling system for the driver. Iced water is pumped through a shirt (and other accessories) worn by the driver via a water pump, plumbing, and cooler stuffed with ice water mounted somewhere in the car. Aside from the general comfort, lowering body temps improves driver mental and physical performance…. the catch: they are not cheap systems. There are plenty of DIY systems out there with nice instructional write-ups, but even then costs add up quickly.
1) Molecule Suit Cleaner: $$-$$$ Relatively Cheap to moderately priced gift.
Without a cool suit, Racing Suits get HOT. Imagine wearing blizzard warm overalls during a heatwave in July, in a car creating a ton more heat, while physically exerting yourself for 35 minutes. Even with a Cool Suit, you can still sweat. Suits can get GROSS. Molecule Suit Cleaner is specifically made to clean suits well without damaging or compromising their fire resistant qualities.
Did you catch part 1 of the holiday gift guide? If not, make sure you check it out!
What do you think? Are there any big ideas missing? There’s a solid chance I may even get to part 3 before the year is up. Leave a comment and check out my other posts: HERE
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