Most people keep their keys and phones in cup holders, door bins, or the glove box. However, if you need a hiding spot, every vehicle has hundreds of holes, hollow areas, and unintentional compartments that you may find useful. Some require a few tools to access, but others open as easily as a can of Pringles – you just need to know where they are.
No matter if you want to hide your album of road-trip tunes or that diamond ring your grandma left you – we’ve got you covered with worthy ideas on how to find stash spots in the car.
Car stashes if you just want protection from prying eyes
Imagine arriving at the beach with your family. The sun is shining, the skies are blue, and everyone is in the mood for a swim this time. You don’t want to keep an eye on your belongings constantly, so leaving phones and wallets in the car seems like a win-win situation.
Unfortunately, crooks are looking for situations like this. They scan through parked cars to see what valuables are visible, meaning they won’t be smashing every car’s window. Here are a few great hiding locations to keep your belongings away from thieves’ eyes.
This one is a classic. Behind every air vent, there is lots of space where you could hide pretty big items. The trickiest part is taking the vent off without breaking it, so make sure you know where and what type of clips hold them. Just be careful with odors – everyone inside the car will figure out where you hid your french fries right after turning the AC on.
Hidden compartment kits under passenger’s feet
Quite a few cars have hidden compartments built into the car’s floor. While it’s easy to access, the lid is hidden underneath floor mats. You really have to know it’s there to find something inside. Due to the need for a higher floor, this hidden compartment kit is more common in vans and SUVs.
Spare wheel area
Even with a spare tire inside, there should be some room left around it for tools or other belongings. One of the main benefits is that this place works great as long-term storage. Just make sure to wrap or fasten the stuff inside because it will rattle and may even get damaged after hitting the metal.
Boot side compartment
Nearly every vehicle has a couple of additional compartments in the trunk. Often, these areas are for tire change kits and the battery. But that doesn’t mean you can’t discover more car stash spots. If you’re feeling even more sneaky, you can bend the boot side trim panel a bit and stash something behind – just remember where you put it!
Area under the seats
Look at the rear passenger’s footwell: a well-concealed space underneath the front seats. Nobody could see what’s there without nearly laying down on the floor. You can even adjust the space by moving the front seats up and down. However, this should be temporary storage because rear passengers could kick the stuff, or someone could even crush it while adjusting the front seat.
If you really need to hide something valuable
Now, what if crooks are already in your car, and it becomes hide and seek? – that’s where it gets creative. Forget all these regular compartments that everyone knows about and think of your car as an oversized multi-storage unit. Take a look at our suggestions and your valuables won’t get into the wrong hands.
Fuel or windshield washer fluid tanks
You have to be incredibly dedicated to hiding valuables if you choose to do it in a gas tank. However, the idea is simple: tie your stuff to a string, throw it into the tank while holding the other end of a string, and attach it somewhere behind the fuel door. Just make sure to put the stuff in a sealed bag, which also has to be fuel-proof. And you’ll need a strong string because you’ll have hard luck taking your stuff out once it snaps.
The same goes with the windshield washer reservoir. The only difference here is that fuel thieves won’t discover your stash accidentally.
Usually, the headliner, the soft ceiling of your car, is a replaceable part, so it isn’t glued to the roof. Even though not much, there is some space between the headliner and the car’s roof. There’s even more space in cars equipped with a sunroof, but be aware that most of it is required for the sunroof mechanism to move. You should access this area by using something sharp. Just be careful to avoid damaging any interior trims.
Inside the dashboard
All these buttons and screens in the center console aren’t deep and usually have lots of space behind them. It’s a dry and safe place, even for bigger items. There are multiple ways to access this area:
- From underneath the glove box
- Take out the car stereo
- Take out the ashtray
- Pull off the center console trim
Don’t hesitate to try all of these methods because it’s possible only one works in your car. Bear in mind that all this space is meant for chunky wiring looms, plastic connectors, and venting tubes. A lack of diligence may malfunction the center console, climate control, audio system or broken clips.
Below the headlights
Some cars’ headlights are easy to remove and even have strange little secret stash spots that are impossible to see without removing said headlights. However, put your stuff inside a sealed bag first as the front of the car faces a ton of grime and water.
Inside the fuse box
While the fuse box isn’t very spacious and can destroy a car’s electrical system when wet, nobody would expect to find your jewelry here. These boxes can be inside the engine bay, the trunk, or on the sides of a dashboard. You can stash various small items here without the risk of them getting wet.
Under the intake manifold
Don’t get excited because this won’t work on every car. Usually, V6 and V8 engines are the best choices as they have intake manifolds with an empty, well-ventilated space below. You’ll get your hands dirty while accessing it, and you will get burnt if the engine is hot, but it’s very unlikely that thieves will decide to pop the hood and dig into the engine bay.
Under the shifter boot
Quick and easy: pull off the leather shifter boot to reveal a nice hidden compartment. There should be enough space for a few phones or wallets, but make sure there are no gaps on the sides because you may never find your phone again. And don’t get in the way of the shifter mechanism, because either the shifter or your stuff will break.
Inside the bumper reinforcement
This one is the trickiest of all listed hiding spots in the car because you may need to remove a few screws first. There’s a piece of thick metal behind the bumper, which is part of a car’s body structure. Usually, it’s hollow and open-ended, so you can put something like a spare key inside. However, you may need to take off an inner wheel arch cover or other trims first. It all depends on how committed you are.
Every car is different, so inspect yours thoroughly
The best stash spots vary depending on the car’s body type. You can discover neat secret compartments under the pickup truck bed liner or inside a hatchback trunk lid. Furthermore, there are often many hollow areas around seats, footwells, and body panels. Creativity is the key!
Are secret compartments in cars illegal?
No. Even manufacturers design various secret compartments to make more room for belongings. You’ll be fine as long as the stuff you’re hiding is legal.
Is it safe to hide money in a car?
Overall, a car isn’t a good choice for hiding things permanently, especially such valuables as money. Anyone can break into the car, steal it, and there are risks of fire, flood, etc.
What cars have hidden compartments?
There are many models with hidden compartments. A few of the most common are Jeep Grand Cherokee, Volkswagen Passat, Toyota Avalon, Volvo XC40.