Garage Gifts: The Ultimate Guide

Guides, Lifestyles  /   /  By Jim Motavalli

The garage should be a gearhead’s sanctuary. These garage gifts will help make the garage the ultimate workspace and automotive retreat.

This quality sign features hand-blown glass.

This quality sign features hand-blown glass.

Say It in Neon

The car-related neon signs available on eBay Motors have an undeniable beauty. Most of the nicest neon signs cost less than $300. For example, these affordable “Last Chance Garage” signs—made of hand-blown glass in the U.S.A.—light up in green, red, and white.

It’s easy to lose track of time in the garage, but not if you have one of these spectacular neon garage clocks. Most American car brands are represented, as well as Gulf, Shell, and Esso gas—and lots of beer.

Extension Cord Reels

Many garages lack sufficient power outlets. Although conventional heavy-duty extension cords get the job done, they often grow legs and add clutter. Extension cord reels add convenience and tidy things up. No more hunting or tripping over cords!

The Crosley Rocket holds 80 CDs.

Garage Tunes: Bluetooth, Boombox, or Jukebox?

“Music has charms that soothe the savage beast,” as the saying goes, and nothing cures the busted bolt blues like a catchy tune and an easy-out. Music is a garage essential and a marvelous garage gift idea, whether you choose an inexpensive Bluetooth speaker, rugged job-site radio, old-school boombox, or a vintage jukebox.

If you love that classic 1950s look but not that scratchy 45-rpm record sound, check out the Crosley Rocket. With a 300-watt amplifier and the capacity to hold 80 CDs, you’ll rock around the clock for days on end.

Fight Flat Tires

Car collectors often store their prized classics for the winter but leaving a car in one place for a long time can cause flat spots in the tires. Race Ramps felt your pain and developed lightweight cradles that disperse the vehicle’s weight. A set of four Flatstoppers, which are designed not to slide, can handle vehicles weighing 6,000 pounds or less.

A New or Vintage Tool Chest

Snap-On’s gorgeous teal ’57 Chevrolet BelAir tool chest.

Our list of garage gifts would not be complete with a new or vintage tool chest. But it’s essential to do some homework. While every garage needs a toolbox, not every mechanic has a brand preference. Of those that do, there’s often only one choice.

Professionals prefer brands like Snap-On and Matco, but Craftsman fills the needs for most DIYers. Thankfully, eBay Motors offers an unparalleled selection of tool chests in all the right colors at every price level.

Toolbox Labels

Does Pops forget where he put his tools on a regular basis? While magnetic toolbox labels might not lower his blood pressure, they’ll surely reduce the inevitable drawer slamming and frustration. When it comes to thoughtful and affordable gifts for the gearhead, toolbox labels deliver unexpected bang for the buck.

These floor tiles interlock without tools. A 300-square-foot garage can be covered for about $600.

These floor tiles interlock without tools. A 300-square-foot garage can be covered for about $600.

Floor Covering

Nobody likes lying down on a cold cement floor. eBay Motors gives the do-it-yourselfer a wide range of protective mats and floor tiles to smarten the place up. The 7.5 x 16 foot Park Smart, made of 20-mil vinyl, has raised edges and contains oil, mud, slush under the car—while keeping walkways clear.

Garage Lifts

Has auto addiction resulted in a three-car habit even if you only have a two-car garage? The answer may be an in-garage lift, which allows two vehicles to occupy the space of one. eBay Motors has a full range of two-post lifts, four-post lifts, and scissor lifts—priced from around $2,000 to $6,000 (for storing four cars in a two-car garage).

Also see: “Affordable Garage Lifts: Understanding Your Options.

Wet and Dry Vacs

It’s inevitable that you’re going to make a mess in the garage, and if so you’ll need heavy-duty help to clean it up. eBay Motors has an array of wet-or-dry shop vacs. If you’re detailing the car’s interior, these smaller vacs, also wet or dry, run on 12-volt car power.

It’s either a creeper or a back-saving mechanic’s chair.

It’s either a creeper or a back-saving mechanic’s chair.

Jeepers Creepers

Even with a decent tile floor, it’s hard to move around under a car without a handy wheeled creeper. eBay’s selection includes some nicely preserved wooden examples, plus innovations such as this Creepers Pro-Lift—which converts to a back-saving mechanic’s chair. It features a padded bed and six swivel casters.

Garage Gifts to Provide Light and Heat

A single overhead 60-watt compact fluorescent isn’t going to do provide the light you need for garage work. There’s an easy fix. eBay Motors has a huge variety of shop lights, including ceiling LEDs, hanging trouble lights, and motion-detection security fixtures.

Unless you want to turn a detached garage into a no man’s land for the winter, you’ll appreciate a heater. Safety is paramount, and approved heaters come in both electric and propane models. eBay Motors has both larger ceiling-mounted units and smaller portable space heaters.

Also see: “Top Tips for Working in a Garage in Winter Months.”


There are two kinds of home garages: those with air compressors and those without. If your loved one’s garage lacks any compressor whatsoever, the mission is clear. The trick is finding the right unit to fill the bill.

A small portable air compressor is suitable for inflating tires and pool toys. A medium-to-large compressor can handle the most demanding chores, like painting, sandblasting, and air tools. You’ll want to size the unit to fit the space, as well as the job. Compressors like the 80-gallon DeWalt vertical air machine have the capacity to handle every job, but you’ll need a 240-volt line to power the 4.7 horsepower unit.

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About the Author

Jim Motavalli is a contributor to the New York Times, Barron's, NPR’s Car Talk, and the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, among others. He is the author of nine books, including two—Forward Drive and High Voltage—about electric cars and why they’re important. He is a longtime radio host on WPKN-FM, and a public speaker on environmental topics.