With the holidays approaching, many people have decided to gift vehicles to loved ones for Christmas. Cars, trucks, SUVs, and other vehicles can make a real difference in the lives of high school and college graduates, newlyweds, parents, and colleagues who are starting out or struggling during tough times. Yet, the process to give a vehicle isn’t as simple as making a purchase, slapping a red bow on it, and yelling “Surprise!” when the time comes.
Before you give a vehicle to someone this holiday season, use these tips to guide your decisions:
1- Research Beforehand
The recipient of your gift is likely going to use it for years, which means that you need to give them a vehicle that matches their needs and preferences. You might approach them by mentioning that you’re thinking of buying yourself a new car, but that you’re struggling to choose a make, model, color, and features. At that point, ask them about their preferences and “dream” car. Additionally, keep their lifestyle and weather in mind when selecting a vehicle. If they have kids, you might buy them a van to help them out if their old one is falling apart even if it isn’t their dream car. If they live in an area that frequently experiences fog or rain, you shouldn’t buy a gray or silver vehicle. Another approach: Show them examples of vehicles on automotive inventory and information websites.
2- Request Help
If you’re still struggling to make a selection or merely need help preparing for the gift reveal, ask relatives, friends, or coworkers who you trust to keep the secret to help you choose a vehicle and make plans. In addition, once you find a dealer, explain your reason for the purchase to them. They might be able to help you with the choice based on the information you tell them about the recipient’s tastes, personality, and day-to-day transportation needs. They can usually also provide you with tips customized to their dealership and your region to help make the entire process smoother.
3- Check Costs
Always make certain that you and your recipient can afford this type of gift. Many people who give a vehicle start their search with a specific purchase budget in mind. The problem with this approach is that they forget about the extra costs related to this type of purchase that can financially harm them or the recipient. For example, you might get hit with a gift tax from the Internal Revenue Service. Also, you must take into account all of the extra costs that the recipient faces, such as insurance, fuel, and maintenance costs. Insurers require that drivers of new vehicles pay higher premiums, especially when the vehicle poses an increased accident risk or contains expensive foreign or luxury parts.
4- Make Arrangements
Some dealerships don’t deliver on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, or three or four days preceding or following the holiday, which means that you might need to pick up the vehicle a few days before Christmas and leave it with a family member, friend, or colleague. Since everyone you know likely has their own holiday plans, you need to find someone who already promised to stop by on Christmas day or has time to deliver it. The dealer you pick might also not include a red bow, which means you might need to order one online. Lastly, you need to decide how to present the gift as a surprise. You might place the keys in a traditional stocking or present box for the recipient to find on Christmas morning. If you’re keeping the vehicle in your garage, you might pretend that everyone has opened every gift and invite the recipient to the garage to see the “special” gift you bought for yourself days before.