Glove Compartment: History and Evolution

There are various features and aspects of a vehicle we often take for granted, yet if you would read more about these car parts, you will be amazed at how limited our understanding is about their functions or uses.

A perfect example of some of these features is the glove compartment, which can also be called glove. The glove compartment is a small storage nook that is fixed beneath the dashboard by the front-seat passenger’s footwell.

The History and Evolution of the Glove Compartment

Glove box compartment

The glove box, which real function remains unknown to many drivers or car owners, is used for storing sunglasses, electronic cables, pens, tissues, and manual. Even though it is called a glove compartment, you can hardly see any driver or car owner store any glove material in this small rectangular box.

So, for the sake of curiosity, you might want to ask, what was the original purpose of this small box called glovie? The glove compartment should not be confused with an airtight container which is an instrument used for handling materials in a controlled atmosphere.

This glove compartment we are referring to is located opposite the passenger seat beneath the dashboard of a vehicle. A decade ago, this compartment was often used by drivers to keep or store their gloves.

These days, gloves aren't an important item needed to operate a vehicle. While gloves are not essential these days when driving a vehicle, back then, they used to be a vital item that is been utilized both for fashionable and functional purposes.

For years, the heating system we now have in our modernized vehicles wasn't present to keep the driver's hands warm, making driver's hands susceptible to numbness as a result of excessive cold, especially from cars with open cabins.

Many steering wheels/cranks/clutches were not easy or comfortable to grip those days, making gloves an essential requirement for drivers, to be able to perfectly focus and control their vehicle.

Gloves were also part of the trending fashion during those days, most especially when driving a vehicle, there are even some drivers who still made use of gloves in luxury vehicle performance. The glove compartment was useful for drivers to have their gloves stored in the car for easy accessibility.

Why Glove Compartment Exists Today?

Female opening a glove box

You might be wondering why do almost every vehicle still has these small boxes, despite the fact many drivers don't make use of gloves to operate vehicles anymore.

Initially, when the glove compartment was developed, the intention wasn’t only to be used for storing gloves; it was a storage closet beneath the dashboard of horseless carriages.

It later became similar to stashing gloves, as it became a space that was always and still been used for storing items, this is why several glove compartments have been built with locks, protecting valuables from passengers, passersby, and valets.

The glove compartment is also referred to as a jockey box, glove-tail, and cubby-hole in different parts of the world. Learn more about this hre. By the way, if you are interested in learning about car lights as well, check out our other blog post here.

Things You Should Never Keep or Store in a Glove Compartment

Linley glove box

The glove compartment was initially built in vehicles for drivers to keep their driving gloves, to prevent their hands from getting numb from the cold due to the opened cabin kind of car been operated those days. Considering that we still have glove compartment in our cars, here are things you should never keep in your car's glove box include:

Personal papers

A glove compartment to you might look like an easily accessible place you can store or keep important documents, yet, it is not advisable to leave any paper with crucial information like home address, or bank details. Thieves or burglars can easily get to your glove compartment, get hold of your ID and use it for phony loan applications or credit cards.

Vehicle registration

Just in case you get pulled over by the police for speeding, you want to ensure your registration is on you. The glove box sure does look like a place you can store your registration details (just like many drivers or car owner does), but don't save it there.

Your wallet is the best place to save this kind of information because if your vehicle registration falls into the wrong hands, it can be used to formulate fake registration.

Extra keys

Keep extra keys either to your garage or home somewhere apart from your glove box. If burglars get to know your address and get their hands on the extra keys stored in your glove box, it can spell doom for your properties.

Things You Should Keep or Store in a Glove Compartment

Things You Should Keep or Store in a Glove Compartment

Below are some things you can or should keep in your glove compartment.

Tire pressure gauge: It is a useful small tool you should have in your car just in case your tires go flat in the middle of nowhere. You can easily keep this device in your glove box

Flashlight: It shouldn't necessarily be a big or large flashlight. You can keep a small flashlight in there just in case you might need it.

Fuses: Store in your glove compartment some backup fuses. Restoring window or light fuse is fairly easy, particularly if you possess the proper tools on hand.

Phone charger: One of the important items that must be present in your car is a cellphone charger. It should always be with you in case of any emergency or your phone running low on battery. Phone chargers are small devices you can easily save in your glove box.

First aid kit: Buy a small first aid kit from a local drugstore. Get essential over-the-counter medications like allergy pills, anti-nausea medicine, and aspirin and store them in your glove box. You or any of your family members might eventually need it someday.

Pen and paper: Who knows when there will be a need to write down crucial information? You can store these two materials (a functioning pen and a book) in your glove box.

Hand sanitizer, tissues, and travel wipes: These might not look or sound important to you, but they are part of the materials that need to be stored in your glove box. It is nice to always clean your hand before visiting a restaurant or after using a gasoline nozzle.

Why the Glove Compartment is Not a Place for Valuable Items

There are many reasons why the glove box is not a secured place you should store or save your valuables like important documents, but the major reasons are:

  • The glove box is the very first place thieves check immediately they break into your car. Thieves know that a glove box is a place most drivers or car owners keep their valuable items.
  • Even though the glove box has a lock on it, it doesn't make it a strong safety that can't be broken into.

Choosing the Right Car Glove Box

Mercedes Glove Box

There are just plenty of things you would like to store in your glove box, but the small space won't avail them. It is even possible that by now, you would have accumulated enough CDs, documents, cards, and papers in your glove box.

When this happens, you have two options, either to clean out the clusters or finds an extra glove box that will contain your items. You will find beneath the dashboard of almost every vehicle model, a pre-installed compartment that often doesn't suit the car owner's storage need.

Just in case you desire another glove box, below are some of the factors to consider before getting one.

Size: This is the most essential you should watch out for when you trying to get a glove box. Both the OE (original equipment) and direct fit globe replacement boxes will perfectly fit into almost every vehicle irrespective of their brand.

If you are not too certain about the size to get for your car, you can simply measure the glove box. Ensure you measure both the width and the height to be certain of the dimensions.

Construction material: The materials can be a polymer, stainless steel, aluminum, or plastic. It depends on your choice. However, the best construction material is stainless steel, because of its temperature resistance and chemical properties.

It is durable and long-lasting, making it impossible to break. The plastic material is also an excellent choice because it can be easily be reprinted to suit your vehicle's interior.

Repairing Your Damaged Glove Box

Repairing Your Damaged Glove Box

You sure won't feel comfortable seeing your globe box faulty, especially when it has to do with the door not getting locked or getting stuck, denying you easy access to the materials or items stored in it. When your glove box develops any fault, you might need to change it right away before it becomes stuck permanently.

The installation of a new glove box is easy and can be done within few minutes. You can do it yourself or get a professional locksmith to repair it if you are concerned about it getting damaged when attempting to repair it yourself. If the glove box door is stuck in a way you can’t get it opened, the solution to such problem might be solved by:

  • Inserting very thin like objects like a pin or clip wire, straight into the lock's hole.
  • Carefully slide a flat-blade driver (screw) or any other flat item into the door's space to trip the lock mechanism.

Don't force the lock, because any attempt to force or pry the lock opened might result in permanent damage to the trim. Oh, and if you want to learn more about car tires, check out our other blog post that covers that topic here.

How Much Should I Budget for a Glove Box?

detached glove box

These box gloves aren't expensive. They are cheap accessories that can be of great use to you for a long time, making them an item worth purchasing.

The original plastic glove compartment such as this one on Amazon is less than $50, while the aluminum and stainless steel like this one on Amazon don't cost more than $60. Though, there are some with amazing inbuilt features, which might make them more expensive than the regulars.

Final Thoughts

There are some parts in our vehicles that we do not know what they were built for. One of these car parts is the glove compartment. It was built to store or save driver's gloves, which they do use when driving to prevent numbness caused by cold.

Even though the initial reason why the glove compartment in vehicles was created has been automatically abolished by the improvement on vehicles with roofs, window, and heat system, the glove compartment remains an essential part of a vehicle that is been used by car owners or drivers to store or save important materials or items.

As already mentioned in this guide, don't keep your documents, gold, money, or other valuable materials in your car's glove compartment, because it is not a strong safety that can help you secure them. There are some you should keep at home, while some are best kept in your wallet. Remember, better safe than sorry!

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