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DIY Automotive: Best Mother’s Day Gifts

car wash wheel

“It’s the thought that counts.”

That’s the rule of thumb for gifts and giving, and perhaps no holiday better illustrates the point than Mother’s Day. Mom’s love homemade gifts, or when kids of any age do something special for them for Mother’s Day. Gifts like these show effort and thoughtfulness that no store-bought gift can match.

Fortunately, you don’t need to know how to sew Mom a new dress to give her something she loves. Use your DIY automotive skills to help Mom on Mother’s Day. You’ll make her feel loved and appreciated, and she can scratch an item off her busy to-do list.

best mothers day gifts - automotive diy NAPA Know How - car wash bucket
A car wash may be all these young kids can handle, but their mom will definitely appreciate a clean car.

Oil and Filter Change

When we asked our Facebook fans why they choose to change their own oil, many said they just want to know it’s done right. Doesn’t Mom’s car or truck deserve the same, top-notch service? You’ll save your mother a few bucks by changing the oil while also getting an opportunity to inspect the vehicle. Be sure to check the air filter and replace it if it’s dirty. If you notice any leaks or other issues, you can plan a repair or make a note to keep an eye on the problem.

You need: motor oil, oil filter, wrenches, oil drain tub, air filter (as needed)

Washing the car is no chore on a warm, sunny spring day.
Washing the car is no chore on a warm, sunny spring day.

Car Wash

Very little skill is required to give the family car a bath, so I chose this gift for my five-year-old twins to give their mom this Mother’s Day. Of course, I could do it quicker myself. But the kids enjoyed using a bucket of soapy water and a hose to wash and rinse the outside of the car while I cleaned the inside. And Mom loved seeing her bright and shiny car when we finished.

You need: bucket, sponge or wash mitt, hose, car wash soap, interior cleaning wipes, vacuum cleaner, glass cleaner, paper towels

best mothers day gifts - automotive diy NAPA Know How - car wash dash
I handled the interior while the kids tackled the exterior. When they were done, I gave the exterior a quick second pass to clean areas that were missed or out of reach.

Lights and Wipers

Mom may not have noticed that her vehicle’s wipers are worn or lights are burned out. But both of these are important to a vehicle’s safety and both are easy to inspect and replace. Check washer fluid levels and test wipers – including rear wipers – to ensure clear, streak-free results. Choose a quality wiper blade to replace worn ones. Check all interior and exterior lights and replace bulbs as necessary.

You need: replacement wiper blades, windshield washer fluid, replacement bulbs

best mothers day gifts - automotive diy NAPA Know How - car wash stool
Step stools make washing the car much easier for young kids. In fact, they’re pretty handy for adults, too, when washing bigger trucks or SUVs.

Wax and Buff

Applying a wax or polish to a vehicle’s paint not only helps it look great but also protects it for a lasting shine. It can be a time-consuming job, so Mom will love having it done for her. For weathered paint, use a cleaner or rubbing compound first. For newer or less damaged finishes, go straight for a wax or other polish. Using an electric or pneumatic polisher will save time compared to polishing by hand.

You need: rubbing compound or cleaner (for heavily weathered paint), wax or polish, buffer/polisher, pads or bonnets (optional)

Interior Refresh

If your mom’s car is beginning to look tired on the inside, it may be time to freshen it up. You can clean carpets and floor mats, or find replacement mats that provide all-weather protection. Cleaners for leather and upholstery will make seats and door panels look new again. For worn upholstery, consider aftermarket seat covers that will make Mom’s car look and feel new again.

You need: carpet/upholstery cleaner, leather cleaner, replacement floor mats (optional), seat covers (optional)

Our list of the best Mother’s Day gifts is perfect not only for mothers, but also moms, mamas, mommas and mommies. Wives, stepmoms, sisters, aunts and grandmothers will love the help, too. Most importantly, they’ll know you think the world of them, and all they do for you. And it’s the thought that mothers day gifts - wash moms car -automotive diy NAPA Know How

Check out all the tools & equipment available on NAPA Online or trust one of our 17,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on the best Mother’s Day gifts, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.

Nick Palermo View All

Nick Palermo is a freelance automotive writer and NAPA Know How blogger. Since becoming an auto news and reviews contributor at in 2011, he has broadened his coverage of the automotive industry to include topics like new car technology, antiques and classics, DIY maintenance and repair, industry news and motorsports. A committed advocate for automotive media professionals, Nick is a member of the Greater Atlanta Automotive Media Association.

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