What You Should Keep in Your Glove Compartment, According to a Mechanic


What would eventually come to be known as a glove box started out as a tool storage compartment built into the wood-paneled dash of the 1900 Packard Model B. In addition to the car’s crank, it also turned out to be a handy place to stash gloves, which were an essential accessory for driving an early 20th century vehicle lacking heat, a hard top, and power steering on the country’s mostly unpaved roads.

While cranks are no longer a necessity, it is helpful to keep a few other key items in your glove compartment. I asked a professional mechanic what you should be storing in yours.

What you should keep in your glove compartment

According to Todd Bialaszewski, a mechanic and founder of Junk Car Medics, “a well-prepared glove box is a mechanic’s best friend.” But you don’t need to be a professional to benefit from what you can fit in the storage compartment. Here are his suggestions:

Flashlight

“Whether inspecting under the hood at night, or peering into a dark car interior, a strong beam helps illuminate problems,” Bialaszewski tells me.

Your vehicle manual

Need to change a tire or your oil but not sure how to do it? Check your manual. “It’s essentially a guidebook for your vehicle,” says Lim.

Proof of insurance and registration

You’ll need these documents in the event of an accident.

Tire pressure gauge

“This small tool allows you to check your tire pressure anytime, anywhere,” says Lim. “Maintaining the correct tire pressure can improve your vehicle’s handling, fuel efficiency, and the lifespan of your tires.”

Mini first aid kit

It’s always a good idea to keep a basic first aid kit with bandages, antiseptic wipes, and gauze in your glove compartment. “This can be crucial if you or a passenger suffers a minor injury while on the road,” says Lim.

Pen and paper

Sure, you’ll probably have your phone on you, but it never hurts to have a pen and paper on hand. “They can be used to exchange information after an accident, write down directions, or leave a note if you’ve had to park someone in,” Lim explains.

A Multi-tool

Instead of a Swiss Army knife, Lim recommends a compact multi-tool that includes pliers, a screwdriver, and a small knife. “This can be useful for minor repairs or adjustments,” he says.

Spare fuses

“If a fuse blows while you’re on the road, having a spare can be the difference between getting where you’re going and getting stuck,” says Lim. Check your vehicle’s manual if you’re unsure how to replace them. 

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