These are the perfect Secret Santa gifts for a petrolhead

No matter your price, we've found some awesome little gifts that any petrolhead would love to receive.

perfect Secret Santa gifts for a petrolhead

by Ryan Gilmore |
Updated on

As Christmas approaches, you might find yourself beginning to have a mull and a muse over what gifts you might you might get for your loved ones. Gift choosing can be difficult enough at the best of times, particularly if you are buying for a car enthusiast - do you keep it simple with car shampoo? Or do you push the boat out and go for a driving experience? But then there's the prospect of the annual Secret Santa gift; that's when your task can become doubly difficult - choosing Secret Santa gifts for the car enthusiast.

Finding the right gift for a car enthusiast is incredibly difficult, anyway, and gift guides are usually filled with stuff so generic (and often novelty) that they miss the mark completely, so we've knocked our heads together to find some car-themed Secret Santa gifts that are guaranteed to make the recipient smile this Christmas.

The best Secret Santa gifts for a petrolhead at a glance:

Editor's choice: Boring Car Trivia Volume 2 - Buy now from Amazon UK
Best for detailing: Kent Wash Mitt - Buy now from Amazon UK
Best handy tool: Draper Little Beastie - Buy now from Amazon UK

Whether your budget is under £5 or perhaps you're splashing out a bit more, have a look at our selection and make your Secret Santa gift buying so much easier.

The perfect Secret Santa gifts:

Up to £5

The best Secret Santa gift for upgrading a car
Jelly Belly 15210 3D Jelly Bean Air Freshener

Rrp: $9.00

Price: $7.80

A simple but effective upgrade for any car is a nice-smelling air freshener. This air freshener from Jelly Belly is a perfect little gift for any car owner. What makes this such a nice Secret Santa gift is that there are multiple scents to choose from, and the scent should last for a couple of weeks at least.


  • Cheap as, air freshener
  • Good variety of fruity scents


  • Maybe too fruity for the delicate nostril

The best Secret Santa gift for car nerds
Boring Car Trivia volume 2
Price: $7.44

Filled with over 300 tediously dull facts about various cars, this pocket-sized book will be a welcome addition to any car bore's library of inane car knowledge. With facts on everything from British Leyland Rovers to Nissans, this small book will keep a car anorak entertained for a good few hours.


  • Unbelievably boring
  • Bore your friends and enemies alike


  • You'll keep reading it

The best Secret Santa gift for amateur car detailers

Moving from a sponge to a proper wash mitt is one of the easiest ways of upgrading how you wash your car. This microfibre wash mitt from Kent Car Care will lather up with shampoo better, reduce the chances of scratches and is far more ergonomic to use compared to a traditional sponge. Buy this for someone who's always cleaning their car, and they'll soon spot the difference in results.


  • Good for loads of suds
  • Kind to paintwork


  • Might be seen as a bit of a novelty item

Up to £10

The best Secret Santa gift that'll come in handy everyday

Small multi-tools can often be considered a bit novel and useless, especially if you're looking at one worth less than a tenner. However, this credit card-sized multi-tool is actually impressive, offering various screwdrivers, a ruler, a bottle and can opener and, best of all, a really good box opener.


  • Compact
  • Useful


  • Size can prevent getting good purchase

Best Secret Santa gift for a clean interior
Car cup holder bin
Price: $8.99
Alternative retailers
Walmart$14.20View offer

Perfect for keeping a car clean on the road, this small bin can hold an empty crisp packet, sweet wrappers and other rubbish without making your car dirty. It features a neat little swing lid and can be emptied easily. This is a great gift for someone who enjoys keeping their car clean.


  • Fits cup holder slot
  • Keep your car clear of rubbish


  • Fills up quickly

Up to £20

Best secret Santa gift for a spotless car

The quality of 26JPN products is exceptional, and these fantastic detailing brushes are the perfect upgrade for anyone who wants to take car cleaning to the next level. This triple pack is made from natural bristles so it doesn't scratch paintwork and makes use of plastic in the handle to prevent any damage.


  • Great for advanced detailing
  • Won't scratch paintwork


  • Not so good for dusting

The best Secret Santa gift for a luxurious smell

A fancier air freshener for the car, Carfume looks fantastic and should provide up to six weeks of freshness. Made from glass and wood, it's a quality item and this particular scent is called Alien Spirit, with notes of oak, jasmine and white amber. How they worked out what an alien smells like is beyond us.


  • Sophisticated scent
  • Long-lasting


  • The lid can work itself loose over time

The best Secret Santa gift for small jobs

Another multi-tool, this set hits an impressive price point and includes 14 different functions. It includes a set of pliers, a wire cutter, a file, blades and a screwdriver attachment, plus the usual bottle and can opener. It folds up and can be stored in the supplied canvas pouch. Draper has an excellent reputation for build quality, and this multi-tool is no different.


  • Good selection of tools
  • Compact design


  • Storage pouch can be a tight fit

The best Secret Santa gift for premium cleaning
Autoglym Ultra High Definition Shampoo
Price: $30.55

A really luxurious option for cleaning a car, this shampoo is designed to properly treat car paint and leave a nice smooth and glossy finish. It's pH neutral and is decently concentrated, too, meaning it'll last for a long time. It's the perfect premium gift for a dedicated car cleaner.


  • Long-lasting
  • pH neutral formula


  • Be careful not to use too much

The best Secret Santa gift for fans of machinery
JCB Celebrating 75 Years of Engineering Innovation

Rrp: $40.00

Price: $30.30

Cars and heavy machinery go hand in hand, and what could be more iconic in the world of machinery than the famous JCB? This book contains 75 years of amazing photography and is packed with the rich history of the brand.


  • Great photography
  • Comprehensive history


  • Not to be read after being stuck behind one

Over £20

The best Secret Santa gift for toy lovers
Speed Champions LEGO 76897 Audi Sport quattro S1

Rrp: $67.99

Price: $61.99

Who doesn't enjoy LEGO? No matter how old you are, a decent LEGO set will always make Christmas that little bit better. This set is fully licensed from Audi and is a small recreation of one of the most iconic rally cars of all time.


  • Iconic car
  • Fun to build


  • Not suitable for rally drivers under 7 years old

Some thoughts about buying your Secret Santa gift

It would be the easiest thing in the world just rush out and buy the first gift that comes into your mind, but a little thought can make the process easier and better for you and the recipient.

Remember to take into account the recipient's specific interests within the world of cars. Whether they love classic cars, performance vehicles, off-roading, or something else, tailoring your gift to what they like will make it even more special. Additionally, it's a good idea to check if there are any specific items or brands they've mentioned or favour so that you can tailor gifts to their preferences.

Don't be tempted to go over budget, as that can cause awkwardness and might be seen as unfair. Remember, the goal is to share the pleasure of giving and receiving gifts and to bring a smile to people's faces.

The best LEGO Speed Champions sets: awesome models on a budget

Useful extras: The best car accessories

CAR book club

Ryan Gilmore is the Deputy Autos and Tools Editor for Parkers and CAR, specialising in car cleaning and hand tools. With an MA in Automotive Journalism, when he's not testing buckets, he can be found looking at old Porsches.

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