The SEMA Garage Detroit Is a Test Lab for the Aftermarket


The SEMA Garage in Diamond Bar, California, has become a hotspot for aftermarket tuning, offering services ranging from emissions testing to 3D-scanning and rapid prototyping. Thanks to the overwhelming popularity of the location in California, construction on a Detroit location is underway. Road & Track was invited to check out the facility and learn more about the expansion.

The first SEMA Garage location launched back in 2014, and in the eight years since, more than 600 California Air Resources Board (CARB) Executive Orders (EO) have been approved through the facility. The emissions testing is so popular among member companies that the SEMA Garage actually had to take on a second shift to meet demand. Despite this, there is still a need for more capacity among the SEMA partners. With this in mind, the team began to search for an ideal second location. It settled on a facility located just 30 miles outside of downtown Detroit.

sema garage detroit exterior

The SEMA Garage Detroit site was formerly a Toyota Technical Center. Once the exterior renovations are complete, no one will ever know the difference.

Lucas Bell

The Motor City is still the beating heart of the auto industry. There are 74 SEMA member companies located within 50 miles of this new 45,000 sq.-ft. site, as well as 25 OE headquarters in the Metro Detroit area alone. The region is so packed with automobilia that 80 separate automotive companies are located within just three miles of the new SEMA Garage location. Additionally, Michigan’s relatively central location means the garage can be of service to almost all of SEMA’s members east of the Rockies.

According to SEMA Garage Detroit general Manager Ben Kaminsky, physical proximity to automakers and suppliers was a major factor in selecting the site’s final location. By moving into the auto industry’s backyard, SEMA hopes to further integrate its members with the OEM network.

“If this garage succeeds, it will be because of OEM relationships and OE supplier relationships with folks like Bosch, Denzo, Siemens and all the other suppliers here in Detroit,” Kaminsky said. “The technology lives at those suppliers, and if we are truly going to help our membership succeed and prosper, we’re going to need to understand those technologies and how to deal with them.”

One of the key pieces of tech that the SEMA Garage Detroit will focus on are Advanced Driver Assistance Systems, or ADAS. Whether it be an aftermarket suspension company or a chain of repair shops, there is a need for more knowledge about how these systems work, and how to repair them, according to aftermarket ADAS engineer Mike Muller.

sema garage detroit adas lab

While it might not look like much now, this gigantic room will soon be one of SEMA Garage Detroit’s ADAS labs.

Lucas Bell

“With ADAS being so new, the aftermarket knows basically nothing about ADAS,” said Muller. “You have companies modifying the vehicles and not understanding the safety implications. So our job is to educate, starting with what the ramifications are of modifying vehicles with respect to ADAS systems.”

In order to help educate members and help companies verify their results, the SEMA Garage Detroit will feature a large ADAS technology center. This section of the site features two separate ADAS testing bays, each with some different capabilities.

sema garage detroit adas lab rendering


Next to the ADAS labs you’ll find SEMA Garage Detroit’s two dynos. One of the bays features a SuperFlow four-wheel chassis dyno, which is capable of handling up to 2500 hp or wheel speeds up to 200 mph. Road tracing can even be achieved with the impressive fan setup for those looking for real-world metrics. The need for four-wheel dynos is becoming more common, with systems on cars like the C8 Corvette freaking out on a standard dyno. Considering the Diamond Bar facility exclusively utilizes two-wheel dynos, this is a nice addition to the Detroit garage.

The second bay features an AVL emissions dyno, capable of testing both diesel and gasoline tailpipe emissions. The setup is currently still being installed, but will be reviewed by CARB and EPA to ensure accurate readings. The facility even houses a large soak room with a private entrance for prototype vehicles, and all of the necessary equipment to undergo emissions testing.

sema garage detroit dyno rooms

Lucas Bell

sema garage detroit dyno rooms

Lucas Bell

“Here in the garage we are really focused on emissions,” said Kaminsky. “We want to help our members with emissions compliance, the regulatory compliance that’s needed, the education and resources that ensure they are meeting those regulations and are consistently compliant. We want to be good citizens. None of us want the environment to be trashed. As car guys, I know you get that. That isn’t what our hobby is about.”

Outside of the two labs, SEMA Garage Detroit also has a large installation center, complete with several Bendpak four post and two lifts, as well as a Hunter four wheel laser alignment rack. The installation center looks like it’ll be a dream workspace, though there is a reason for all the niceties inside. SEMA hopes that some of its members will actually utilize this space for media production, whether that be for social media or for video instruction manuals. In fact, Kaminsky even noted SEMA’s desire to integrate itself with the local car community. Whether that involves hosting events down the line or simply showing up to cars and coffee, SEMA wants Detroiters to know they’re finally here.

sema garage detroit soak room

Lucas Bell

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