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The glove box can be a useful treasure chest in cars, housing everything from important papers and receipts to tire gauges and extra fuses. It's a safe, easy-to-access place for crucial items, and almost every car has one. Even the best of us are sometimes guilty of littering our glove boxes with unnecessary items like CDs or cosmetics.
Don't let yourself go down that path. Rather, be prepared and consider the following things to keep on hand.
License and registration: Keep all important documents like proof of insurance, automotive registration and a copy of your driver's license in a plastic bag or held together by a paper clip.
ICE: Experts at AAA recommend keeping an ICE — in case of emergency — card with important information about you and your passengers. On that card you should list emergency contacts, physicians, any medications used or allergies for you and your passengers. Download an ICE card here.
Put your owner's manual on a diet: We'd all like to keep our car's owner's manual in the glove box, but have you seen the size of these things lately? If your car came with a combo pack of a manual plus other materials like stereo or navigation instructions, optional warranties and more, put the less vital guides elsewhere. Keep just the main manual — with important info on engine care, wiper blade sizes and more — in the glove box.
Tire pressure gauge: Unless you have a new Nissan Altima with its Easy Fill Tire Alert system, a tire pressure gauge is one of the most essential items to have in your glove box. Thankfully, it's also small.
Flashlight: There are dozens of small — sometimes even flat — LED flashlights on the market that take up only a little space but emit a lot of light. A flashlight will come in handy when trying to change a tire in the dark.
Fuses: Stock your glove box with a few backup fuses, which can be picked up at a hardware store for a few dollars. If your car's taillights or power windows stop working, replacing a blown fuse takes just seconds. Fuses are ideal for the glove box because they're tiny.
Wheel-lock key: Wheel locks help to ensure that someone won't walk off with your car's pricey wheels, but you won't be able to change a flat tire without the wheel-lock key. If your car has wheel locks, keep the key in the glove box next to the tire pressure gauge.
First-aid kit: If your car is short on storage space, find a small pouch or container and make a basic first-aid kit for the glove box. It should contain adhesive bandages, tissues or cotton balls, a pain reliever like aspirin and backup prescription medicine. You could put the ICE card in there, too. Some retailers carry first-aid kits for glove boxes such as the LifeLine, which costs less than $10.
Phone charger: If you have a smartphone you know how quickly the battery can run out of power, especially if you're using Bluetooth. Luckily, most chargers are small. A cellphone is one of the most important items you should have with you in a car in case of an emergency; don't let it run out of juice.
Paper map: Put a printed — yes, printed — fold-out map in your glove box. In this day and age where portable GPS units and cellphones with navigation software dominate, having an up-to-date paper map as a backup is just plain smart.