Useful car gift for Tennessee
December 12, 2018 9:35 AM   Subscribe

My brother is moving to Nashville and getting a car for the first time in many years. What are good car accessories I could give as a gift?

I was thinking of jumper cables, but I live in MN. Jumper cables are necessary here for if it is too cold to start the car. Is that a thing that happens in Nashville? Are car scrapers useful?

What other kind of car accessories - useful items you use regularly in your vehicle - would be a good gift that is also appropriate for Nashville/Tennessee climate/environment?

Bonus: are there any Nashville or Tennessee special type gifts he might like? He has previously lived in MN, WI, DC and NYC, but has always loved visiting Nashville and finally gets to move there. He also loves country music (think George Strait) and early-aught pop/indie/hip-hop.
posted by jillithd to Travel & Transportation around Nashville, TN (22 answers total)
AAA membership? (I am a carless NYC dweller but seem to recall some folks taking issues with AAA's political donations or something - there are other roadside assistance options out there in the same vein).
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 9:39 AM on December 12, 2018 [3 favorites]

You could do a little digging and see if his car has Sirius XM. If so, you could gift him a subscription.

Jumper cables are definitely a useful thing no matter where you live.
posted by jaksemas at 9:42 AM on December 12, 2018

Windshield phone mount, for those times when you need to follow Google Maps.
posted by the_blizz at 9:45 AM on December 12, 2018

The collapsible organizers that Velcro to the floor of the trunk for keeping groceries from flying around as you turn can be really convenient.

A toolkit that can just live in the car is handy.
posted by Candleman at 9:46 AM on December 12, 2018

A 12V air compressor has saved my bacon on more than one occasion.

But honestly, a AAA membership would be hard to beat. It is so, so worth it to be able to just call AAA when you're stranded (flat tire, dead battery, locked yourself out, whatever) and have someone show up promptly to bail you out, free of charge. (Plus they have a good discount program.)

It's one of those things that is just so incredibly valuable in terms of peace of mind and which paid for itself the first time I used it (protip: it's cheaper and faster to sign up for AAA on your phone right there by the side of the road and have them call you a tow truck than it is to call the tow truck yourself) but which I went without for years and years because I am terrible at being an adult. Do the work for him and get him a card. The day will come when he thanks you for it, trust me.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 10:02 AM on December 12, 2018 [4 favorites]

A tire gauge to measure pressure before he gets a flat and needs AAA.
Like this
Never like this
posted by smuna at 10:08 AM on December 12, 2018 [1 favorite]

A window broom for snow removal and a brass scraper for ice. Nashville does get snow and both are small enough to throw in the trunk and forget about until you need them.
posted by soelo at 10:16 AM on December 12, 2018 [1 favorite]

AAA membership for sure. An ice scraper, jumper, cables, tire pressure gauge, and sunscreen thing for the windshield are also helpful (even in more aouthern climates—I usef my scraper and cables in Georgia!).
posted by lucy.jakobs at 10:38 AM on December 12, 2018

Battery tech moves fast--in lieu of jumper cables, I'd get a jump box (and set a calendar reminder to recharge it).

Some kind of phone mount, and some kind of charging solution, might be a good pick. If his car doesn't already have Bluetooth, an adapter would also be nice.

In warmer parts of the country, window tint, side window deflectors, and windshield sun shades are popular car accessories.

When I get a new vehicle, I always buy a set of WeatherTech floor mats.

If the car is compatible with one, an OBD-II reader might save him some money.

I don't use a dashcam or a radar detector, but lots of drivers love them.

wirecutter has good comparison reviews of car accessories.

(I've never used their services, but the usual alternative-to-AAA suggestion is the Better World Club.)

Bonus Tennessee gift: Olive and Sinclair chocolate.
posted by box at 10:44 AM on December 12, 2018 [2 favorites]

+1 on the jumper box - not having to find someone to jump off of is so nice.
posted by joycehealy at 10:49 AM on December 12, 2018

I have been given emergency kit bags that have flares and medical supplies and stuff I might need if I got stranded or in an accident. Also, an emergency blanket and windshield scrapers. Does it snow there? A more expensive, fancier option would be a remote car starter, so he can let it run and get warm for a few minutes before he gets in. If his car has Sirius XM capability, I do highly recommend that.
posted by AppleTurnover at 11:21 AM on December 12, 2018

You could put together a care kit so he can keep his new car looking nice. Include things like a sponge, a chamois cloth, RainX, upholstery shampoo, wax, etc. and put it all into a wash bucket.
posted by DrGail at 11:34 AM on December 12, 2018 [1 favorite]

A Tennessee Titans car decal or flag.

It'll help him blend in.
posted by teleri025 at 11:37 AM on December 12, 2018

Nthing phone mount, but I hate hate hate the windshield mounted ones, so you may want to look at other versions, too.
posted by cooker girl at 12:05 PM on December 12, 2018

Get him a decent lug wrench. One of the X-shaped ones. The L-shaped toy that comes with the car is usually terrible. Others have mentioned a decent pressure gauge, and a tire compressor—both are essential, especially the compressor, for when you have to change a tire and your unused-for-years spare is completely flat.
posted by vitout at 12:22 PM on December 12, 2018

AAA memberships are amazing. However, if he is buying a new car from a dealer, it might come with some kind of roadside service. My Nissan came with 5 years of Nissan roadside service. I only used it a few times, but it was basically like AAA (without the free maps and travel discounts).
posted by radioamy at 12:24 PM on December 12, 2018 [1 favorite]

I was gifted a Frost Guard and I loooove it. Lots of color/style options (mine has the Green Bay Packers logo on it), and it's especially useful in winter weather.
posted by mcbeth at 12:34 PM on December 12, 2018

If the car doesn't have built-in Bluetooth, a nice adapter.

For Tennessee, a sun shade to keep it cool in the summer.

Most car washes have a subscription service that's surprisingly cheap (think $10 for one wash, or $25 for unlimited washes for a month), if it's a nice car and they're proud of it, I'd get a subscription or gift card to a nearby car wash. It's a definite pamper gift that no one really thinks to buy for themselves.
posted by matrixclown at 1:33 PM on December 12, 2018

I have a small USB flash light that plugs in the cigarette lighter, so it is always charged. It is really useful. Harbor freight has one, it Amazon. Mine was from a local hardware store.
Charging thingie for USB phone.
posted by theora55 at 2:29 PM on December 12, 2018

i like the phone mounts with alligator clips(NOT the ones on springs) for the ac vent.
posted by brujita at 4:27 PM on December 12, 2018

Phone mount: iOttie easy one-touch!
posted by bird internet at 6:39 PM on December 12, 2018

Definitely the jumper cables and ice scraper. AAA is good but it comes up for renewal each year. My favorite suggestion is the WeatherTech FloorLiner floor mat idea (the ones that are more like a bucket than a mat). I'd say don't bother with the back seat mats, just go for driver/passenger set. You'll need to know the specific make/model/year for the vehicle. These are some of the best things I've purchased, not just for my vehicle but best thing I've purchased in general.

For a future gift idea, Echo auto? I know I'm super excited to finally be able to ask Alexa stuff while driving, since I do this accidentally from time to time because I'm so used to using this in my home.
posted by belau at 7:33 AM on December 13, 2018

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