Here are some great gift ideas for the driver or car lover on your gift list:
Stanley Black chrome wrench set
$49 for the 73-piece set; $299 for the 149-piece set. Available at Canadian Tire Stores. There is a lot to be said for these sets but two things stand out: they are top quality and they are packaged so you can identify and grab the right one immediately instead of scrabbling around in a tool box or drawer.
The laser-etched sockets have easy-to-read markings and use what Stanley calls "MaxDrive" technology, which is designed to provide a better grip and handle more torque.
Similarly the wrenches have longer handles and thick shanks for the same purpose. The ratchets are a low-profile design which is useful in tight quarters and a 60-tooth gear system.
Sets come with a two-piece case so the back can be used as a drawer tray.
CAA Gift membership
$75 at www.caa.ca. There are so many advantages to a CAA membership you can give one as a gift to practically anyone with a licence. This is a gift that gives year-round and will be appreciated when it counts the most – in an emergency, when that special someone has a breakdown, flat tire or the car won’t start. One call and help is on the way.
One of my daughters used it recently when she ran over an object and punctured a tire. The other used hers on a cross-country trip when the car failed to start after stopping for lunch. My wife used it in the United States last week when a rental car needed a boost.
While roadside assistance is the main reason you may give this gift, a CAA membership also allows the member to find an approved repair location and access a wealth of travel planning, insurance and other services, including discounts on everything from shoes to theme park tickets at more than 300 merchants in Canada and the U.S.
World’s Best Wax
$24 at www.worldsbestwax.com or call 1-866-815-2608. It takes guts to advertise your product as the "world’s best". But a small Canadian company has gone further than that, endowing not only the product, but the entire company with that moniker.
Toronto-based World’s Best Wax Company has a number of car care products it says can be compared to the best anyone has to offer globally. I’ve tried two of them and as an avid car detailer, can attest that I’ve not run across anything better.
Company President Frank Duarte set out on a mission several years ago to develop a line of products that rely on environmentally-friendly natural ingredients rather than synthetics. He figured true enthusiasts, folks who spend hours caring for their ride, would be willing to pay a premium for hand-crafted products that produce a show-quality shine.
World’s Best Wax is far from cheap, but the results are as claimed. All Frank’s waxes contain above-average amounts of pure Brazilian white carnuba wax and no silicone.
World’s Best Wax is available in Connoisseur (46% carnuba) and Collector series (36%).
I tried the former on white, copper-color and dark green paint in comparison with two of the more widely-advertised cleaner waxes and a well-known European glaze product on side-by-side panels.
The World’s Best wax produced a deeper and more transparent shine, especially on the darker colors. An added bonus is that, since it contains no silicone or chemicals, it does not leave that nasty white deposit on dark plastic or vinyl trim pieces.
Since it contains no abrasive cleaners it is important to ensure a clean surface devoid of previous waxes etc. I used World’s Best Wax Surface Cleanse as a prep step and found it both easy to use and effective. Also because it is not a cleaner wax, additional coats can be applied one atop the other for an even deeper shine.
World Best Wax products come in containers that would be just as at home on the dresser as in the garage, but as is always the case, quality costs – a six-ounce container of Connoisseur will set you back $100 at retail but you can save $20 via the company’s website. The Collector formula is $80 retail and $65 on the site. Each contains enough product for as many as 35 applications depending on vehicle size. A three-ounce container of Surface Cleanse is $24 ($22 on the net).
$44.95 at www.argusanalyzers.com. The battery in your car can be a best friend or a worst enemy. If the latter, it’s nice to know it in advance before it leaves you stranded,
This little gadget from Argus Analyzers does what those expensive pieces of test equipment the professionals use do, but for a lot less money.
The Battery Bug provides accurate, real-time battery performance information like the state of charge and, depending on which model you choose, cranking amps or reserve time. If the battery is low, Battery Bug sounds an alarm.
DeWalt Variable-Speed Polisher
$249 at Canadian Tire and independent DeWalt dealers. DeWalt has a pair of variable-speed polishers (7-in and 9-in ) that boast improved ergonomics and light weight, making them easier to use. Despite the light weight, these are real workhorses whether you are polishing a car, boat or even concrete surfaces.
DeWalt says the units offer a combination of speed, power and control that’s missing from competitive units. A 12-amp motor provides the power while a variable-speed trigger allows the operator to control speeds form 0-300 or 3500 depending on the setting.