Life moves pretty fast at an auto auction, especially for the service tech team responsible for getting the cars ready. Just ask the team at the ADESA auto auction facility outside of Washington D.C.
“What’s unique about our job… is that everybody at the auction has a hand in selling each car,” ADESA Operations Manager Dennis Sidorski, operations manager said in this NADA video. “So indirectly or directly, everyone contributes to the process of pretty much every car that sells here.”
Bringing Cars Back to Like-New Condition
More than 9 million cars are sold at auction every year, according to the National Auto Auction Association. While auto auctions come in all shapes, sizes and configurations, ADESA is one of the biggest with 75 locations across North America—including Mexico and Canada. ADESA’s website says it provides wholesale vehicle auction solutions to professional car buyers and sellers including dealers, fleets, rental agencies, brokers, and manufacturers.
“We work on whatever comes through the door,” said ADESA Service Technician Andy Hoffman. That can include everything from a dealer consignment to fleet-lease cars or main manufacturing accounts. “We had a car come in this morning with 1,100 miles, so basically a brand new, off-lease car,” Hoffman noted. “We bring the car back to like-new condition, so that a dealer can come here and buy a car straight from us and know that he can put it back on his lot without having to spend any money on it.”
The Real Action Takes Place Before the Auction
While the hum of excitement at ADESA location in Dulles, Virginia is centered around the 12 sales lanes during the weekly auctions on Wednesday, the real hub of activity is the onsite service shop, which gets the vehicles ready for auction seven days a week. “It’s not like your regular retail shop,” said Sidorski. “It’s high volume where the cars come in.” Sidorski estimates that his team of service techs fix roughly one-third of the hundreds of cars that come in weekly. The services run from simple oil changes to replacing entire engines. “Whatever the customer needs,” he said. “They feel comfortable in fixing the cars.”
ADESA Service Technician Scott Westlake certainly feels comfortable fixing cars in a high-pressure environment, but that wasn’t always the case. “Growing up, I used to take things apart,” he said in the NADA video. “And wasn’t always able to put them back together. But that’s part of the learning experience, seeing what they’re all made of.”
Westlake began his technician career 20 years ago while working for a tree service company. He said it was a natural transition to move from repairing tractor trailers, chain saws and wood chippers to working on cars and trucks. “I like the variety of vehicles that come through, so it’s not just one thing, day in and day out. I would say this is a pretty unique experience working at an auction, especially with all the people that work in the shop, it’s a great group,” he said.