Does AutoZone replace headlights?
To be clear here, it’s quite easy to walk into AutoZone with a part number or simply knowing the make, model, year, and sometimes even trim of a vehicle - and purchase a headlight or tail light for a vehicle. When you go to a dealership or repair center, you’ll often be charged for labor in addition to the headlight purchase.
Autozone will replace your headlight in most situations, if the headlight is readily accessible to the installer.
When will AutoZone not replace your headlight?
There is one important thing to understand about when AutoZone won’t install your headlight: AutoZone is a retail store, and they don’t have experienced mechanics. Sure, they care about helping you might auto parts, but taking apart a car might be a bit above their paygrade.
If anything needs to be removed from your vehicle in an effort to replace your headlight, that vehicle’s headlight replacement is probably not one AutoZone can do.
Car manufacturers sometimes have to use a bit of skill and finesse to build a vehicle. The engine compartment can become a bit messy in order to contain the motor as well as onboard computers, oil, fluids, and everything else that makes your car run properly.
This means that in some cases, there might be things that need to be removed and put back in - just to replace a headlight. One mechanic talks about his experiences here with some cars that are a bit over a decade old which could still readily apply to your vehicle. In the case of some common vehicles sold in the mid 2010’s - the mechanic, or body shop, has to remove the entire bumper assembly in order to get to a headlight. I hope that vehicle comes with long lasting bulbs!
Now imagine a good natured AutoZone employee trying to remove parts of your vehicle they are not familiar with, like the bumper, and either damaging it or not being sure how to put things back together.
Why are some headlights difficult to remove?
In some cases, awkward engineering results in important parts like the battery or other parts needing additional expertise and tools to remove. In other ways, it’s somewhat intentional. Car manufacturers like it when you bring your vehicle in for service. By making it difficult for the average mechanic or AutoZone employee to gain quick access to a light bulb, they are more likely to get your business.
What kind of headlights can AutoZone help with?
Some headlight replacements are still pretty easy. If a person with average sized hands can reach into the hood of the car and grab the headlight without moving anything, there’s a good chance the AutoZone rep will be able to help you replace and install new headlights.
Generally speaking, there are a couple kinds of headlights. Some are just an easy to use adapter that plugs into a port and other, less modern headlights or those used in big trucks often have a screw and connector. AutoZone has the potential to handle both kinds of headlights.
How do I make sure AutoZone installs my headlights right?
Since AutoZone doesn’t have real mechanics, you could experience some minor issues after they install your headlights. To be fair, this could happen after you replace headlights in your own driveway - or if a dealership or service center skips over details.
Some vehicles have a “Level” system within the headlight that tells you as you are installing a headlight, if the headlight is looking where it should be. Without a level system, an AutoZone employee - or you, could install a headlight so that the light isn’t showing quite where it should be.
The simple solution is to turn on the cars headlights on before leaving - and before reinstalling anything that needed to be removed - whether at AutoZone or elsewhere. Headlights can then be moved in place or tightened, or even loosened, to be seated correctly.
How can I tell if the headlights are out of alignment?
The best way is to pull your vehicle as close to a way as possible with the headlights on. This helps you find the center focus of your low beams. Mark the spots where both headlights are shining with a piece of horizontal tape running through the center of the shining light. Then make a two foot tall strip of vertical tape that crosses through the center of the horizontal tape. Basically, make a plus sign on the wall with specific heights.
Now back the car up. You might want to read the owners manual which could discuss how far to test distances. Once your car is that distance away - usually 10 to 25 feet, look at where the lights are shining on the wall. The top of the most intense part of your headlight beam should remain at or below the center horizontal line. Horizontally, the brightest part of your beams should be to the right of the vertical line to avoid shining into the faces of oncoming traffic.
Adjustments can be made be turning the screw within the headlight port - or by moving the headlight bulb within the connector flip it’s installed into. Most of these are foolproof, thankfully.
Aligned headlights are very important for visibility. Misaligned headlights should be obvious right away, especially at night.
How do I know when AutoZone will change my headlights?
The curious thing about AutoZone is that their website talks about do it yourself projects and auto parts - and even renting their tools, but they don’t openly disclose that they install headlights when purchased from AutoZone.
Part of the reason for this certainly could be because they can’t predict which vehicles offer the fast and easy install - and they don’t want to promise customers free installation when it’s actually quite labor intensive,.
This also presents an opportunity to call and ask your local AutoZone if they install headlights in your vehicle. The employee might know which vehicles are restricted from installation and give you the chance to get the bulbs installed somewhere else without further hassle. Employees should also know when they are very busy and might not be able to keep a customer satisfied with a quick install time. While some hardware and battery stores offer battery installs, the battery is also easier to get to.
Their lack of information on their website lends to our answer: Can AutoZone install headlights for you? It depends. Consider free headlight installation an extra service that AutoZone can offer customers, that in some cases, takes their employee just a little bit of knowledge and a couple of minutes to create a memorable and easy experience for the customer.
About The Author
I've spent many years selling cars, working with auto detailers, mechanics, dealership service teams, quoting and researching car insurance, modding my own cars, and much more.Read More About Charles Redding