AutoZone vs O’Reillys – Which is Better?


Your car isn’t impervious and sooner or later will need routine maintenance with a part or two needing to be changed out. With many auto parts retailers vying for your attention, finding reliable parts can be stressful. Two of the biggest suppliers, Autozone vs. O’Reilly Auto Parts, are on many people’s radar, but which is better?

There really isn’t a big difference between Autozone and O’Reilly Auto Parts. In certain situations, you might find one more favorable than the other. Overall, both companies provide both OEM and high-quality 3rd party parts suited to get the job done. 

The two retailers are quite comparable, and little sets them apart from each other. We will discuss some of the little differences between the two below.

AutoZone sign

Autozone

First founded in 1979, Autozone is one of the largest and most recognizable automotive parts and accessories retailers. Initially, a division of a wholesale grocer going by the name Auto Shack, the retailer has now expanded to over 6,400 locations with stores in every state and even multiple countries.

Autozone also carries its own line of car batteries, brake pads, and other parts under the Duralast brand name. 

O’Reilly

Officially starting in 1957 with their first store in Springfield, Missouri, O’Reilly Auto Parts has also been going through a similar expansion as its AutoZone competitor. Although there are fewer stores comparatively, O’Reilly still maintains over 5,600 stores in 47 states.

Which is Cheaper

Probably the biggest difference people want to know about is whether Autozone or O’Reilly is cheaper. Unfortunately (or fortunately) there is not much difference in price between the two. While you may end up seeing one part being significantly cheaper at Autozone, you might see the opposite be true for a different part.

For most general maintenance parts, such as oil, windshield wipers, new battery, etc., the difference might be no more than a few dollars. However, when having to look for major replacement parts such as sensors or a fuel pump, it might pay to shop around as the price difference could be considerable. 

The bottom line is that neither is cheaper overall. For small-dollar savings, you will have to shop individual parts between the two. 

Return Policy

Sometimes, despite thinking that you have everything figured out, mistakes can be made. The at-home mechanic knows very well the struggles of accidentally purchasing the wrong part. Thankfully, both Autozone and O’Reilly provide easy returns.

Both companies will require that you return the item with the receipt and original packaging, unused. Both will also allow you to return a product bought online at your local store rather than having you ship the product back, although that is still an option if you wish.

The big difference between the two is in regards to their refund period. Autozone allows for a short but workable 90 day return period. However, it appears that O’Reilly does not set a time limit as long as you have the receipt and unused product. So if you are the type that can take months to return a product, O’Reilly might be the safer choice.

Warranty

But what if you want some additional peace of mind for the product that you are purchasing. Thankfully both Autozone and O’Reilly provide a limited warranty for the products that they sell. The warranty period will be different based on what product you are looking at, but it looks like both offer roughly the same warranty period between products. 

The standard limitations apply for the limited warranty from both retailers. The product must have been faulty in some sort of way, and the resulting failure should not have been caused by misuse. You can bring the part to your local store for either a replacement or a refund.

Both websites have the warranty period listed clearly on their product pages if you want to confirm for yourself before choosing who to buy a new auto part from.

Price Matching

Car parts

Price matching is yet another way to save as much money as you can. Both Autozone and O’Reilly offer a price matching service. As long as the product being matched is identical or substantially the same, both companies will try to award you the lower price.

However, both do have a stipulation preventing price matches with online retailers such as Amazon or Rock Auto. They can only price match local competitors such as each other or other retailers like Advanced Auto Parts. 

Shipping and Pickup

Having everything shipped to your house is something that many of us have taken for granted. Thankfully, both O’Reilly and Autozone have caught up with the times and now provide a wide range of shipping options.

Both auto parts suppliers offer the ability to ship your item to your local store at no additional cost. With Autozone having slightly more locations, they hold an advantage in this regard. 

Additionally, both retailers offer next-day shipping and even same-day shipping to qualifying addresses and products. Unfortunately, products such as batteries or antifreeze won’t be able to be shipped out due to shipping regulations.

Rewards Programs

A loyalty program is, well, one way to try and gain customer loyalty by rewarding them for their continued patronage. Autozone and O’Reilly both offer their own free to enroll in rewards programs. 

Enrollment in either rewards program grants you access to exclusive offers and discounts along with the ability to earn points. These points can then be redeemed for a reward. Autozone and O’Reilly handle the accumulation of points in a different way.

Autozone Rewards: For every purchase over $20, you will receive one credit. When you accumulate five credits (i.e., five purchases over $20), you are able to redeem a $20 award.

O’Reilly O’Rewards: For every dollar you spend, you earn one point. When you accumulate 150 points (i.e., $150 worth of spend), you are able to redeem $5. O’Reilly will also offer products at times that will offer 2x,3x,4x,5x, or 10x the number of points per dollar.

Looking at strictly the return, Autozone rewards can net you $20 back for every $100 spent. Admittedly it would be unrealistic to spend close to or exactly $20 for five purchases. But it would take spending $600 at O’Reilly on non-multiplied products to reach the same $20 back. Unfortunately, making a purchase at Autozone under $20 will not progress you towards the reward, so there could be “wasted” purchases being made in this regard.

Overall these rewards systems will appeal to different people. For those that make a lot of small purchases, O’Reilly might come out ahead. But for everyone else, Autozone might come out on top in regards to the loyalty program.

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John Cunningham

John Cunningham is an Automotive Technician and writer on Rustyautos.com. I've been a mechanic for over twenty-five years, and I've worked for GM, Volvo, Volkswagen, Landrover, and Jaguar dealerships. My passion is cars. I use my knowledge and experience to write articles that help fellow gear-heads with all aspects of car ownership, including buying advice, maintenance, and troubleshooting.

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