When we at Russell Smith Auto get a vehicle back from auction one of the first things we do is get it in good running condition before it goes out onto the lot.
One of the mechanics or the shop manager will take it on a test drive. Driving it back from auction is also a test drive if one of the mechanics or manager brought it in. They we do a workup sheet.
We've got a state inspection sheet and our own inspection that we go through different things like making sure the lights, windows and everything else works properly. The we put it on a lift, look underneath, make sure the breaks look good and look at everything underneath to see what needs attention. If a check engine light pops on we have analyzers that can look at that and see what that's indicating and what needs to be addressed.
We pretty much run through everything. The mechanic checks off the list. Once parts are orders ordered and the work's done, the mechanic checks it all off. The then vehicle goes through our detail shop. Our guy cleans them up really good; he takes some vehicles that don't look that great and cleans them up all shiny and spotless and ready to go on a lot.
The entire process is done as quickly as possible, but the time it takes is sometimes based on models too. If the car, truck, van or SUV is a newer model – or a new car trade, and we try to buy as many new car trades that we can that basically just need to be checked out -- and everything's working, everything's good, we run it through the detail and get it in inventory. It could be anywhere from one day to two or three. If we have to order parts, that could slow us down.
If a vehicle needs maybe a little bit deeper analyzing to know exactly what's going on, it may take a little bit longer especially if it's some kind of engine noise. But we've got great mechanics. One has about 30 years’ experience behind him in this area. He’s very good and intuitive and can diagnose problems really well. We have two others that are haven't been doing it as long, but work under his guidance and do a great job. They do all our warranty work.
The average cost to recondition a vehicle before we sell it is about $1,000. Occasionally we’ll get a vehicle at auction that is going to take too long and too much money to fix and it’s not going to be worth it for us. So we just run it back through the auction. It’s not worth it to us or our customers.