Never Leave These 10 Things in Your Glove Box

Glove Compartment Rules

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Driver Opening Glovebox Compartment

Rethink Your Glove Box

Here's the stark reality: Your glove box — also known as a glove compartment — isn’t a fortified safe that’s impenetrable to car thieves. Even with your car’s security system intact, the amount of time it could take a thief to make a clean getaway with say, your spare credit cards, after breaking into your car is terribly quick. 

In fact, vehicle thefts are skyrocketing. The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) — a leading not-for-profit association committed to forecasting, stopping, and ultimately prosecuting insurance crime — has determined that upwards of 500,000 vehicles were reported stolen in the U.S. in the first half of 2023 alone. 

While you can’t always stop someone from breaking into your car, you can take proper measures to ensure that no one steals anything valuable from your glove box. Here are some of the items you should absolutely never keep in your glove compartment. 

Garage Door Opener

1. Garage Door Opener

Of all the things that you shouldn't leave in your car's glove box, a garage door opener ranks right up there at the top. Should you also end up leaving any kind of documents in your glove box that identify where you live, it will be quick and easy work for the car thief to break into your garage. Instead, keep it in your purse or bring it inside your home when you don't need it. 

plastic pet water bottles on the shelf in the market

2. Certain Types of Plastic Water Bottles

Even though it seems perfectly logical to keep a water bottle or two in your car’s glove box if an emergency were to ever arise, it can end up working against you. If left in a hot car, a bottle could end up leaking dangerous substances like BPA into the actual water. From there, harmful microorganisms can quickly multiply, and you can end up drinking unsafe water that leaves you ill. Keep it in a cooler instead, or bring reusable water bottles into your car as needed.

Green credit card on dark background.
Dmytro Skrypnykov/istockphoto

3. Extra Credit Cards

You might not even remember that you hurriedly tossed one of your extra credit cards into the glove box while out on errands, but therein lies your crucial mistake. Any extra credit cards that you might have on hand should be safely stowed away in your home, and never in a glove compartment where a thief could easily gain access to those funds. 

Related: 12 Best Credit Cards for Seniors

Aerosol can

4. Aerosol Cans

When it comes to leaving an aerosol can (think hairspray or deodorant) in your glove box, you're really rolling the dice on a potential disaster. That's because aerosol cans come with strict storage temperature recommendations that are helpfully printed out on the bottle. Were you to leave an aerosol can in your car’s glove compartment and expose it to extreme heat or cold, it could potentially expand and then explode. Plus, the contents of aerosol cans are highly flammable. Not a great combo.

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Word Tax 2024 on the calculator. Business and tax concept.Calculator, coins, book, tax form, and pen on table.Tax deduction planning.Financial research, government taxes, and calculation tax return

5. Tax Documents

Not only should you have your tax documents filed away in a safe place or stored and saved on your computer, but you should never keep them in your car. These documents contain all kinds of important and privileged information like your social security number. If an identity thief gained access to that information, they could effortlessly unleash havoc on your life.

Related: 10 Ways Taxes Might Affect Your Relationship

Prescription Medication Medicine Pill Tablets

6. Medicine

Medicine bottles typically require being stored at room temperature. Whenever you fail to properly store your medicine, you run the heightened risk of it becoming less effective. Your medicine could even go bad before its expiration date. Regardless of what kind of health insurance you might have, medicine is often a pricey expense. The last thing you want to have to do is toss perfectly good medication.

Close up view charge the battery phone in car. Place the mobile smart phone in the car. transportation and vehicle concept.
Rattankun Thongbun/istockphoto

7. Electronics

Many electronics could be deemed “valuables” in their own right. Whether it’s a fancy pair of Bluetooth headphones or something as essential as a spare phone charger, you don’t want to leave any room for a thief to get their hands on your electronics. 

If you left your phone in your car’s glove box, it could also lose data or suffer a damaged battery due to extreme heat (anything at or over 95˚F). Extremely cold temperatures can also damage your phone’s battery life or screen health, or even result in the emergency shutdown of your phone. 

Related: 6 Places You Should Never Keep Your Phone

House keys with house shaped keychain isolated on white background

8. Extra Set of Keys

Okay, an extra set of keys is almost just asking for chaos to erupt. In the nightmarish event that your car and its glove box get broken into, you absolutely don't want the thief being able to break into your home. Whatever you do, make sure that you hide your extra house keys somewhere at home. 


9. Vehicle Registration

This one seems a bit counterintuitive. While you need to make sure that you have easy access to your vehicle's registration if you get pulled over, there’s also a much safer alternative to storing the physical papers in your car’s glove box. Simply take a picture of your vehicle’s registration and save that on your phone if you ever need to present such information.

different batteries
Mark Hochleitner/istockphoto

10. Batteries

While it's practical enough to want to keep spare batteries in your car for any electronics, batteries can leak battery acid when exposed to extreme heat. Not only will you end up bearing the financial cost of having to replace any damaged batteries, but you also don't want battery acid leaking around your car.