Short Answer — AutoZone only allows core returns with the receipt; if you don’t have the receipt, the store may be able to look it up using your phone number. You can return your core to an AutoZone store or ship it to AutoZone’s Fulfillment Center.
AutoZone Core Return Policy Explained
AutoZone does not allow core returns without the receipt, customer service representatives said; the company will only process a core return if you originally bought the core from AutoZone.
However, if you provide your phone number, AutoZone may be able to look up your receipt.
We contacted AutoZone stores in California, Florida, Missouri, and New York to confirm. The associates we spoke with said that they can usually look up the part using your phone number, and can definitely do so if the part is still under warranty.
How Core Charges Work
Product cores are certain types of old or failed parts from your vehicle that come with a “core” price. Brake shoes, alternators, water pumps, air conditioning compressors, and other select parts are considered cores. Companies often restore and remanufacture these parts for resale in an effort to reduce landfill waste.
When purchasing a core, you’ll usually pay the price of the part as well as a core charge. The core charge is a refundable deposit, which the store will pay back to you when you return the old core.
For example, if you purchase a starter with a $40 core charge, you’ll receive a refund of $40 when you return that starter and purchase a new one.
Batteries are also among the products that come with a core charge. See our related research for information about AutoZone’s battery warranty and return policy.
Core Return Process
There are two ways to return a core part to AutoZone. First, you can return the part by bringing the core (with its original packaging) and your receipt to any AutoZone store location. If you no longer have the receipt, you can provide your phone number, as noted above.
If you originally paid with a credit card, be sure to bring that card with you.
Both in-store and online purchases are eligible for in-store returns. If you purchased the core online, you can also ship it back to AutoZone’s Fulfillment Center along with the Core Return Form that appears on the back of your shipping invoice.
AutoZone does not reimburse shipping costs for core returns.
If you purchased the part with any payment method other than a credit card, AutoZone requires that you enclose a copy of the receipt along with the core.
AutoZone inspects all returned cores before issuing reimbursements; employees can inspect the part immediately if you’re returning it in-store. (Be sure to clean and drain your core of any fluids or mud before returning.)
If the item passes inspection, AutoZone will reimburse you for the core price. If it does not pass, AutoZone will not reimburse you, but it will return the core to you.