Automotive Gift Guide: Tips for Giving a Vehicle

key-791390_640Every season, automakers promote the holiday fantasy of getting a new car with a shiny red ribbon wrapped around it. Imagine the absolute delight of your recipient (typically, your spouse, child, or parent). Nothing says, “I love you” quite like a brand new car that’s paid for by someone else. If you’re considering giving a car or truck as a gift this holiday season, you should read this first. It outlines different types of vehicles, sections on maintenance needs and the restoration process of a car, and even a section on packaging and delivery.

Choosing the Make and Model and Between New or Used

Ask yourself, who is this for? Is it for your child? If so, then safety is likely a top priority. Is it for your spouse who has a specific need, like hauling supplies or picking up kids from after-school activities? Considering who it’s for will help you determine the type of vehicle, whether a truck or car, and what other auto parts and features it should have. Make a list of your recipient’s greatest needs and desires in a car, and use those to guide yourself to the perfect vehicle with all the right parts and features.

Determining the exact make and model is mostly preference. For example, does your recipient love foreign cars? Or, is buying domestic more important? Do your best to compare and learn as much as possible. This will ensure that you get the most for your money, and you’ll have more information which you can use to haggle the final price with the dealer.

Choosing between new and used isn’t as simple as one may think. Estimate how much you’re willing to spend. Keep in mind that while new cars are often more reliable, they cost a great deal more than used ones. As a car gets older, it depreciates in value. Even if you’ve kept it in good condition, that new car is going to decrease in value by thousands of dollars each year. It’s up to you to plan overall costs, including insurance, financing/interest, and maintenance and repairs. Choose an option that fits in your budget, and gives you peace of mind.

Routine Maintenance 

Before picking a make and model, do a little research on what routine maintenance is required to keep the car running efficiently. You also might look into how much common repairs will cost for that vehicle. Not all cars are created equal, and some makes have higher repair costs than others. For example, even simple maintenance like changing oil filters, transmission fluids and wiper blades is much more expensive for a BMW 325i than for a Chevy Cruze.

Also, keep in mind how comfortable you or your loved one is with do-it-yourself car care. Knowing your way around a vehicle and its parts and mechanical systems can make a huge difference when it comes to maintenance affordability. Going back to the BMW example, you can easily find the right BMW 325i parts online, which is much cheaper than asking a mechanic shop to purchase the BMW parts for you. Once you have the right genuine or aftermarket parts, you can do the work yourself or even employ someone to handle the job using the car parts you purchased.

Renovating or Restoring a Vehicle  

Sometimes, old and used is the only option, such as when you’re restoring or renovating an old automobile. For a classic car collector, a restored vehicle is a priceless gift (or even the unrestored car itself). The first step is choosing which type of car they want. Continuing with the BMW example, if style and speed are your recipient’s thing, consider the poise and performance of a BMW 507 Roadster.

Once you’ve decided on a vehicle, in order to to fully restore it you’ll need to replace any broken parts or ones missing completely by obtaining and installing the proper original auto parts. As we mentioned above, you can find many of these parts online for cheaper than asking a mechanic shop to do so.

Here’s a breakdown of what it takes to fully renovate or restore a vehicle:

  • Ensure the engine is running well with properly fitting and functioning engine parts. Common engine parts that may need to be replaced include bearings, pistons and rings.
  • Give the vehicle a fresh paint job, including base coat and protective finish treatment that can guard your beloved vehicle against chips, scratches, rust and scuffs. Also, don’t forget to apply a wax coat to more easily keep dust and grime off your freshly painted car.
  • Renovate the interior. This includes seat cushions, head rests, carpets and even the headliner (interior roof liner). Replacing parts like the headliner and carpets will help prevent your car from smelling due to mildew and filth build-up, as well as prevent that pesky foam inner-lining from crumbling onto you or your passengers.
  • Do your best to restore the car to its original integrity, which could be difficult with an older vehicle. If original car parts are not available, then it’s okay to use newer parts. You can consult specialists at online parts stores like who will help you determine which newer part number will fit your older vehicle.

Presenting Your Gift

Do your best to keep this gift a surprise because that’s really the only way you can ensure a truly surprised reaction. You should present the new car in a grandiose way, as shown on holiday dealership commercials. Feel free to copy the idea where a small box is presented, and inside it are the keys. Your recipient will rush outside to find the gift in the driveway.

You’ll need to coordinate the delivery of the vehicle with your dealership or seller. They might not be willing to deliver the car on Christmas morning, in which case it’ll be up to you to secretly get it in the driveway. Confer with others to make this surprise happen. The dealer may have a bow for you, or you can purchase a car-sized bow online. Keep in mind, it may take a couple attempts to get it looking right.

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1 Comment

  • Who wouldn’t want a brand new car? Of course, many would be so excited to have it. But there are just certain rules and tips in buying a new car especially if you wanted to give it as a gift. Thanks for giving some of your advice here in your post. It’s a big help.

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