When I worked for one of the largest automotive auction companies in the United States every sale day was total out of control chaos. The fun started at 6:00 am when the facility opened the gates for the inspection period several hours before the event began.
These 4 hours prior to hammer time allowed registered car dealers to inspect the vehicles they were interested in biding on. Now as you might know not all used car dealers are the most honest people you can meet.
Every inspection period had its share of shady dealers trying to rig the car to fail or turn on the engine light, or even break the air conditioning, or just about anything to damage a system that would reduce the bidding price while on the block.
Some dealers would try to quickly rig the vehicle not to start. this way it would have to be pushed through the auction lane and sold in not running condition.
A car that doesn't run can not have the power-train evaluated and could be purchased dirt cheep. This can be as much as 80% below the real world value of the automobile. The dealer could then buy it and quickly repair what he busted, then turn around sell it at full retail price.
This is where I came in. Me and my team of mechanics would drive around in golf carts armed with basic tools. 20 minutes before a car was to be run through the car auction lanes the lane captain would start the vehicle and let it run.
If the vehicle did not start I would get the call over the radio with the location of the vehicle. An example of the call would be, no start lane D spot 546. I would head to that location and quickly diagnose the no start.
I knew the vehicle was rigged not to start because all the vehicles ran the night before when they where put on the current spot. If a vehicle did not start it had a special location to be parked. It was pushed through with a specially rigged retired police car that had felt covered bumper bars.
I became an ace at diagnosing car not starting conditions. When I arrived on site I would immediately determine if the no start was a no cranking condition or if it cranked over was it no spark or no fuel condition.
After determining the cause I would head for the easiest to rig area of the car. An example would be if the car cranked over and had no spark I would check the coil wiring. The bad dealers had a trick that was to unplug the coil and then bend the pins down and reconnect the coil plug.
This would make it look like the coil was connected but it was not. Another example was if the vehicle cranked over and there was no fuel I would head for the fuel pump connector. If the problem was a no cranking condition I would head for the starter relay and so on.
I found this both rewarding and challenging to foil the unscrupulous car dealers attempt to get a car for pennies on the dollar.
The registered car dealers where frustrating the automotive auction I worked for with the large amounts of vandalism. The amount of failures where so many that my crew of mechanics would have a hard time keeping up and this would slow the rhythm of the automotive auction.
The auction would run thousands of vehicles through its lanes and they had to be in order. If a vehicle had to be skipped it was a loss of revenue for the seller and the automotive auction house since they received a percentage of the final sale price.
The auction house came up with a plan. They posted the lane captains in 2 story turrets and armed them with binoculars and a radio.
They would guard their lane and report any possible vandalism to my team and me that now road in a golf cart with a security guard. When we would catch the cheating dealer they would have their automotive auction passes revoked for life.
Which meant the dealer would have to drive to the next closest dealer auction to buy cars. Unfortunately with all the security measures put in place there was only a mild improvement in the vandalism of the auction cars.
Eventually the process of the 14-hour automotive auction day wore me out and I had to resign. The job was challenging and rewarding but took too much from the rest of my life. I do miss whizzing around on the golf carts and foiling the bad guys.
When I tell people these automotive auction stories it can be hard to believe that people could be so evil but we are talking about car dealers. Before the letters start rolling in from upset car dealers, Let me state that there are many honest car dealers in this world. And I even met some good honest dealers at the automotive auction facility.
auctions take this vandalism out of the equation because the auction
takes place in cyber space while the vehicle sits quietly in storage.
You can visit one of the best car auction websites below and see how
this works. They provide a FAQ page that answers just about any question
you could think of!
This next auto auction story is about a trusted mechanic that worked for
me in the reconditioning department. Learn why and how this
car auction mechanic scammed the system.
This next link will take you to the main car auction page that will connect you to more stories and pages about the subject. Go from this automotive auction story to auction cars.
This next link takes you to the auto facts home page. You can learn more about me and why I built this website.