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.


29 replies
  1. starky
    starky says:

    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.

  2. Christine
    Christine says:

    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!!!!!???????

  3. Rob St.marseille
    Rob St.marseille says:

    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…

  4. Houston Thad Cranford
    Houston Thad Cranford says:

    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
      stockspyder says:

      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..

  5. Stilts
    Stilts says:

    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
      John Huh says:

      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.

  6. Joe Piccirillo
    Joe Piccirillo says:

    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
      John Huh says:

      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.

  7. Tonia28
    Tonia28 says:

    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!

  8. Ben
    Ben says:

    The only thing that makes this whole story more funny is that I said the exact same thing when visiting my in-laws. “I got time. It’s a light bulb and will take 10 minutes. Wait…how do I get at the bulb?” Now it’s not so funny again because I bought Sylvania Silver Star Ultras for the H11 bulb. After about 20 months my wife’s Acadia looks like a pirate with an eye patch at night again despite replacing bother bu lbs ato the same time. Looking at the package I saved, it actually notes that they last about 25% the life of a standard bulb, but have a whiter light. Do yourselves a favor and replace the low beam/DRL bulb with the Phillips H11 LL bulb it came with or you could be doing this yearly! FYI Silverstars are a slightly brighter and whiter light, but the claim that they are 50% brighter is based on comparing to a woren standard bulb.

  9. Peter F
    Peter F says:

    stockspyder; I had a very difficult time with these headlights also. I have still not figured out how to replace the amber daylight running bulb in the headlight assembly. I can get my hand in there and feel something but I can’t feel enough of it to get a clue as to how it comes out. I was cursing so much my neighbors had thought I’d gone mad. I stood up, gathered myself, looked at them and said “never buy a fucking GMC”

  10. Paul
    Paul says:

    I am in the middle of changing my THIRD HID on the passenger side. I *FUCKING HATE* this *FUCKING CAR*. I swear to God if I knew the cocksuckers that designed this POS I would literally kill them right now. Not only is it FUCKING ridiculous how you are supposed to change the damn thing, but due to the small opening I just accidentally broke the HID and now I need to get another one. NOT CHEAP.

    I will NEVER buy a GM product again in my life.


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