StockSpyder – Some Assembly Required

Where nobody's listening… but I'm still talking


Why I hate my Acadia…..

Early in 2009, I purchased a slightly used 2008 GMC Acadia for a family vehicle and to accommodate my growing family and the needs that come along with all the kids.

With a sharp looking exterior and a roomy interior and optional captain seats, I thought this car would be a decent buy.

After all…. Domestic quality has gone up after the buyout…. right?

Wrong, wrong and dead wrong would be the answer to that. This SUV has been in to the dealer 5 times for transmission related issues. It still refuses to downshift on the freeway without more than 65% throttle and that includes going uphill. It appears as though GMC cared more for the EPA rating than functionality, because the Acadia is sluggish to non-driveable in certain scenarios when it refuses to downshift.

The latest in the comedy of errors for this Acadia? well my passenger side headlight went out right before Christmas much to my chagrin.

Before heading out to a family dinner, I figured hell might as well toss in my replacement because that wouldn’t take more than 10 minutes tops.. right John???

Turns out not only did GMC completely fail to do the prudent thing when programming the transmission ECU, or fail to catch one of the two big recalls on the transmission itself, but they also decided that the only way you will ever change a headlight bulb is through the dealer.

To make a long story short, it took me 2 hours to install a headlight bulb. Yes.. two hours. Plain and simple, this job shouldn’t be attempted by the average shadetree mechanic.

How to Replace your Headlight Bulb in your GMC Acadia

What you will need :

Phillips, 10mm socket, flathead or other plastic popper tool, lots of patience.

We start by removing the passenger side fenderwell bolts.


Next undo the three pull tabs located directly above your wheel, you may also opt to remove the wheel itself, I did not do this but instead turned my wheel to give me the clearance I needed.


With the fender liner removed, you can now access the Acadia’s ridiculously long and over-engineered mounting tabs.


The key tab being the bottom mount which is bolted onto a chassis brace by a 10mm bolt.


Now with that bolt removed, you can now open the hood and remove the hood bonnet, the front latch and the six push pins that hold the cover to the hood latch onto the vehicle.

With the cover removed, you can now access the deep 10mm bolt that is furthest away from the front of the car, and with the hood cover latch removed you can now access the interior 10mm bolt.

You MUST undo the clips that hold the main engine fusebox in place, make sure to disconnect your battery when doing this. With the main fusebox moved over a few inches, you can now access the last bolt that holds the front grille in place.

Yes…. remove the wheel and bumper…. for a headlight bulb….. Thanks GM.

With all three locations unbolted, you can now wiggle the headlight out. GMC directs their mechanics to REMOVE the front bumper fascia for proper clearance.


After taking a look at the 20 plus bolts on the bottom of the lower splash guard and the multiple bolts that hold the front bumper to the 5mph crash support I decided there is no way I will be removing the front bumper for this job.

Doing so might have caused my head to spontaneously combust from stupidity. Make no mistake, this is a pain in the fucking ass job.


Not only does the ridiculously long brackets make the headlight extremely cumbersome but the back bracket threatens to put a crease in your fender if you do not remove the headlight properly.

Instead I pulled back on the front fascia of the car, almost to the point where the front grill felt like it would shatter into a million pieces.


Needless to say, I am less than enthused with the level of engineering behind this car. With the headlight now removed, I can now twist out the old bulb and install the new one.

Two hours later, my Acadia now has 2 headlights and I have a massive headache. I wasn’t pleased with the car to begin with, and this fiasco just may have pushed me over the edge with this thing.


Many thanks GM, may a thousand rabid vikings fist your faces off in middle of the night.


Acadiachange headlightChanging headlight bulbsGMCGMC SUCKSpain in the ass

John Huh • January 3, 2012

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  1. starky July 11, 2012 - 8:30 pm Reply

    I have an 09 and all that I did when switching to HIDs is take off the front wheel remove the inner fender liner and unscrew the cap on the headlight put in the new bulb tie up the new wiring and ballast and it was done took about 40 min total start to finnish. I just got a 2012 and wil be doing the same upgrade.

    • stockspyder July 12, 2012 - 8:31 am Reply

      you’ve got smaller hands than I do! thanks for chiming in.

    • Steve M May 13, 2014 - 10:42 am Reply

      I was able to access the bulb through the wheel well. Bulb was stuck. I ended up pulling the bulb bracket out with the bulb. $650 latter, I have a new headlamp assembly since the shop couldn’t repair the one I broke. At 75K miles, it cost me $4K to have the transmission replaced. What a piece of crap car!

  2. Bob May 3, 2013 - 12:59 pm Reply

    Okay first of all the GMC Acadia is an amazing car. I love my acadia I have a 2012 acadia and its great.

  3. Christine August 22, 2013 - 9:54 am Reply

    I hate mine too! Headlight recall, sunroof recall, broken a/c then broken heat, mildew smell, suspension coil cracked and fell off. I’m a (pissed off) suburban mom! I drive a six mile loop with two skinny kids and they think the suspension coil was nothing out of the ordinary. SEriouslY!!!!!???????

  4. Rob St.marseille August 29, 2013 - 3:22 pm Reply

    I have an 08 Acadia and was able to change the bulb by removing the inner wheel wehll cover and the cap to the lamp…only took me 1/2 hr…

    • stockspyder August 30, 2013 - 6:46 am Reply

      both sides Rob? or just your passenger side?

  5. Houston Thad Cranford October 10, 2014 - 5:18 pm Reply

    I feel your pain, I was going to change the headlight bulb in my sis in laws Acadia, until we found out there was a recall on these piece of shit cars headlights, CHRIST ALMIGHTY, what kind of FUCKED UP HUMAN MIND , would even conceive building a car that you have to completely dis- assemble just to change a simple fucking bulb?? Fuck this person deeply! I hope this fucking bastard gets caught on a dark country road in one of these shitty fucking cars with the rotten ass headlights, and I hope this fucker has a case of bulbs and NO TOOLS, no mechanic, no shop, and no jack, you shouldn’t even need any of these things to change a fucking bulb anyway! What’s next, engine removal to put air in a tire, I’m sure if these GREEDY ASSHOLES can figure out how to make this happen they GODAMN surely will!

    • stockspyder October 13, 2014 - 3:04 pm Reply

      Thanks for reading and replying…

      Liked this part the most : “CHRIST ALMIGHTY, what kind of FUCKED UP HUMAN MIND , would even conceive building a car that you have to completely dis- assemble just to change a simple fucking bulb??”

      Perfect way to summarize my post lol..

  6. anythingboyscandoicandobetter October 16, 2014 - 5:54 am Reply

    I’m a girl, and I’m about to try to do this! Thanks for the uplifting how to:|

    • stockspyder October 16, 2014 - 8:14 am Reply

      sorry to be the bearer of bad news! Hopefully you’ll have a better time than I did!

      Thanks for commenting

  7. absman October 29, 2014 - 8:17 pm Reply

    shit just shit. my wife just called and said her light went out so i look it up and this is what i see.SHIT

    • stockspyder October 29, 2014 - 8:20 pm Reply

      So sorry to hear

  8. Stilts June 3, 2015 - 5:28 pm Reply

    My 2011 was a pain but , I did it the same as starky and I’m 6’9″ tall wear a size 16 ring….. So I’m not small handed …..its tight but can be done.

    • John Huh June 27, 2015 - 8:43 pm Reply

      Hi Greg, thanks for commenting.

      I’ve done this job twice since the writing of this article, and yes can be done but it doesn’t change the poor design and the idiotic instructions of removing your front bumper to access the headlight bulbs.

  9. Joe Piccirillo June 10, 2015 - 11:49 pm Reply

    You are a dumbass. You should not be attempting putting gasoline in your car without your parents consent! You took the WHOLE headlamp assembly out to change a bulb?! Really?! Like I tell my boss at work, “Stay in the OFFICE!”.

    • John Huh June 27, 2015 - 8:41 pm Reply

      Joe, thanks for commenting.. funny you should say that.. people pay me real money to tune their cars.. weird how that works huh?

      And speaking of parents, maybe you run up from your basement and ask them to read you the GM instructions on how to change this bulb. They not only want you to remove the headlight assembly, but they want you to remove the entire bumper as well.

      I didn’t remove the headlight assembly to change the bulb exclusively in other words. This would have been plain to see had you a slightest sense of reading comprehension, like every other reader of this post.

    • BenSupra June 28, 2015 - 1:15 am Reply

      Can’t fix stupid.

  10. Tonia28 June 14, 2015 - 8:30 am Reply

    I have had nothing but problems as well. My driver side head lights just went out. I have had more repairs on this stupid thing than I care to name. Not happy about my 2008 GMC Acadia. How do I find a list of recalls & is it possible to get anything fixed now? Thanks!

  11. Hyatronics July 13, 2015 - 10:48 pm Reply

    This is an easy task if you have opposable thumbs on both of your upper extremeties.

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