We’re getting down to it, and that hard-to-shop-for hotrodder in your life is doing absolutely nothing to help you figure out what to get him or her for Christmas.

Hey, we get it. What car folk really want costs several thousand dollars. Or is something money can’t buy.

But we don’t really want anything within the financial confines of a reasonable purchase price.

However, we do need things. We’re just not always smart enough to think of them.

Here are 10 great under-$50 tool gift ideas for the car guy or gal in your life. If they’re a long-time gearhead, they will likely have a lot of this stuff already. We leave the detective work to you!

Shop Lights

When you’re working under the hood or underneath a car or truck, there is no such thing as too much light. Shop lights—portable, rechargeable ones with a long life, resistant to water, chemicals and adult beverages are EXACTLY the kind we like.

Air Hoses

If the person you’re shopping for uses a lot of air tools, there’s always the chance their hoses are kinking up all the time, or just getting worn out from age and wear. If that’s the case, giving some new air hose in 25-foot and 50-foot increments is sure to deliver some Christmas-morning smiles.

Air Tool Rack

Some of us are really organized. Some of us are really not. For the latter, a tool rack on which to keep air tools organized is an excellent gift. It’s like giving new underwear. It won’t enthrall anyone. But in a lot of ways, it’s a gift that keeps on giving.

Timing Light

If the person you’re shopping for spends a lot of time talking about advancing or retarding ignition timing, they probably already have one of these. But if they’re a performance enthusiast still building their tool collection, a decent timing light is an absolute must.

Degree Wheels

Degree wheels are the optimum tool for aligning the position of a camshaft. If you’re interested in timing lights, you should also be interested in degree wheels. They are used for degreeing your camshaft, which is easier than you might think.

Breaker Bars

Breaker bars, pry bars. To-may-to. To-mah-to. If you’re shopping for a gearhead, he or she needs one. In fact, if they’re easily frustrated or quick to anger, they may need several.

Brass Hammer

Sometimes you need to bang on things a little. And sometimes you need to bang on things a little without creating any sparks. If you’re buying for someone who values life and limb, these brass hammers would make an excellent addition to any serious tool collection.


Unless you’re buying for this guy, your gift recipient does not have enough hands and arms. Not for the kind of multi-tasking many garage wizards require. These Vise-Grips won’t solve that problem entirely, but they’ll sure help a lot.

Craftsman 2 ¼-ton Floor Jack

Owners of monster rigs and large heavy equipment will need something with a little more heft, but for the most part, a well-built 2 1/4–ton (4,500-pound) floor jack like this one from Craftsman will be able to lift most vehicles for most jobs. Great gift. Great price.

Jack Stands

This is a pretty nice complementary gift to the aforementioned floor jack. Promoting safety is critical. After receiving all their outstanding gifts this season, they’re going to want to be in good health and in one piece to get another one next year!

Don’t know what tools they want or need? Summit Racing’s gift cards make fantastic gifts. They are redeemable at all Summit Racing companies, including Genuine Hotrod Hardware and PowerSports Place.

What tools under $50 do you want or need this holiday season?

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Author: Matt Griswold

After a 10-year newspaper journalism career, Matt Griswold spent another decade writing about the automotive aftermarket and motorsports. He was part of the original OnAllCylinders editorial team when it launched in 2012.