DIY car enthusiasts are always looking for a better tool to make their next project a little easier. But it might come as a surprise that your next go-to tool won't be found hanging in your garage. It could be an app on your iPhone.
The free AutoZone iPhone app is a well-organized smartphone tool that takes some of the brand's most valuable online info, such as vehicle repair guides, and puts it in the palm of your hand. Other functions include the ability to browse the company's entire inventory for parts and accessories, create shopping lists, check availability and pricing, find a store and track your AutoZone rewards.
After downloading and launching the app, you select your vehicles and a preferred store location. In my case, I searched the extensive listings and had no problem locating parts and accessories for several past and present vehicles, including a 1969 Karmann Ghia convertible, 1989 Chevy S10 Blazer and a 2006 Audi A4. The app provided a store location in the Los Angeles area, along with its hours and address.
It was easy to go deeper into the app by using icons along the bottom of the home screen. Choices include Search, Stores, Shopping List, Favorites and More. Tapping Search — the heart of the app — provided three options: Find Parts, Find Accessories and Repair Guides.
Selecting Find Parts gave me a Quick Picks menu of common go-to categories, including batteries, fuel delivery and ignition and tune-up. The fuel pump seemed to be faltering on the vintage Blazer, so I scrolled to a fuel pump submenu and got two parts options, which included important info such as part number, price, warranty and availability.
Tapping on a selection also brought up installation tips, like "A fuel pump is more likely to fail if installed without a new strainer and filter." Another tap added the part to the app's shopping list, while a quick call to the store confirmed the part was indeed in stock.
Tapping Accessories offered an extensive menu, ranging from electronics to wheels and tires. As in the Parts search, selecting a category opened a submenu, allowing me to drill down to specifics such as cell phone non-slip dash pads. The results revealed an at-a-glance summary indicating whether the item was in stock, required a call to the store or was not at all available.
I used the Store icon to toggle between the nearest location and my preferred AutoZone location. A Favorites icon allowed me to search personalized info, including vehicles, preferred stores and AutoZone rewards details.
Palm-Sized Repair Manual
A feature that gets the thumbs-up is the Repair Guide. With a few taps, I was able to access photos and diagrams on how to do everything from replacing the A/C compressor in the Blazer to getting the correct spark plug gaps to tune the vintage Ghia. No such luck on getting information on the Audi, however, so the Repair Guides aren't comprehensive.
The More icon on many apps generally reveals some pretty cool functions that provide added value. But AutoZone's app gives you nothing more than some privacy policies and terms-of-use legalese. Despite these small nits, the AutoZone app proves a handy digital addition to the modern toolbox for DIY owners looking to keep their vehicles running smoothly.
To find a dealership that knows how to treat shoppers right, please visit Edmunds.com's Dealer Ratings and Reviews.