Teenagers can be hard to understand, much less shop for. But almost every 16-year-old, even the ones who have somehow built a six-figure social media presence on a platform you didn’t know existed, can appreciate the freedom of being able to operate a motor vehicle. Scoring a driver’s license will always be one of the significant milestones on the way to adulthood. (Well, at least until someone ruins that with self-driving cars.)
Below are some practical and affordable gifts to help a teenager celebrate his or her newfound autonomy, whether you’re looking for a stocking stuffer or a significant investment. Each is guaranteed to go down better than that not-so-hilarious “Caution: New Driver” t-shirt you found online.
ABC: Always Be Charging. This 3-in-1 cable with Lightning, micro-USB, and USB-C attachments has every device covered.
A tire pressure gauge should be in every vehicle. This affordable, digital version is precise and easy to store in a glove box.
What’s better than learning from experience? Having someone else’s experience on hand to consult. Karen Gravelle’s book is a helpful resource for both teens and parents answering their frantic phone calls.
Every driver should have some jumper cables on hand. These 16-foot-long ones from Energizer are simple, functional, and provide more than enough slack.
Let’s be honest: carting around sweaty lacrosse or field hockey gear can make a car smell a little…funky. These charcoal air purifying bags absorb odors, rather than overpowering them with a full-court press of fragrance.
Every teen driver has a smartphone. A phone that is mounted is one that's not in their hands sending texts.
Winter is coming in many parts of the country. You could get your teen a generic scraper/brush…but here’s a cooler one made from a recycled hockey stick.
School starts stupidly early in the morning. This Yeti rambler keeps their caffeinated beverage warm and is designed to fit in a standard cupholder.
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What's the best way to get your teen to wash their car? Buy them everything they need.
Backup cameras are wonderful. If your teen is driving an older used car, it may not have one. This LeeKooLuu kit is plug-and-play and super-affordable — and if it avoids one incident, it'll pay for itself.
Once teenagers get cars, they need gas to fill them. You could head to the station and fill up a can for them, but this Visa card would be a bit more convenient. If it ends up getting used for takeout or mobile gaming add-ons, well, teenagers have done worse.
A blanket is great to keep in the car for the odd picnic or fall football game. In the winter, it could be a life-saver.
When you hear "dash cam," you probably think of Russian YouTube videos. But there's a reasonable chance your teen may become involved in some form of fender-bender. Video evidence could come in handy. This Aukey camera has the basic functionality you need for a very low price.
You never know when your teen will need a first aid kit. Ditch the huge box you have to keep in your trunk and get this sleek, waterproof VSSL kit that fits in the glove box.
Not all carmakers put as much thought into sun visors as they should. Ray-Ban aviators have a timeless style and polarized lenses to reduce glare while driving.
Once your young driver gets a license, they need something to carry it around in. This matte black leather card holder from A-Cold-Wall would be a fashionable way to do that.
Kelley Blue Book released their best cars to buy awards for 2020. The results may surprise you.