When Low Prices Cost You Big Money with guest Tony Picarello


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Drive Friendly with Steve & Felecia
Drive Friendly with Steve & Felecia
When Low Prices Cost You Big Money with guest Tony Picarello

When shopping, do you go for the lowest price? Cheap service on your car, cheap lending fees and cheap insurance… It can cost you.

Steve, Felecia, Matt and Ryan are joined this week by Anthony Picarello of Factory Motor Parts to share times when they’ve cleaned up the mess after a low-price decision left someone high and dry. Abandoned repairs, sideways deals, “surprise” or hidden fees, and what you can do to avoid them.

Episode Recap


  • Be careful with mobile mechanics
  • Work with a professional mortgage lender, not an app
  • Resident relatives need to be on your insurance policies

The Truth About Mobile Mechanics

With COVID-19, we’re seeing a lot of mobile auto mechanics. These guys have been around for years. A lot of guys who work at shops will do side work. That’s a natural course of being a mechanic. There are a lot of good ones out there. But this surge of “Facebook Mechanics” is alarming. We recently had a former customer call up about a water pump job, which would normally be $1000 — a good price. This “Facebook Mechanic” quoted $500. He asked for $300 up front for the parts. First, any good mechanic should not have to ask for a deposit. The guy tore apart the car and took off with the money. And the guy wasn’t using his real name. So, of course, he came back to Friendly. However, it is so hard to put something back together that another mechanic tore apart. We did it for the original quote.

Do you want a mechanic coming in and using your bathroom? What if they ask you to help?
One time, Friendly had to let a guy go because he couldn’t keep up with the standards. He ended up going out and doing a mobile business. And he used Friendly’s name! People started coming to Friendly to fix all of the problems the guy caused.

The point is, be careful out there with mobile mechanics. There are good ones, but do your due diligence. And if you want to make sure you have a good warranty and place to go if you have a problem, use a brick-and-mortar shop, like Friendly Auto Centers. Warranties can transfer from a shop here in Arizona to one in Florida. Sometimes the cheapest places end up being the most expensive. The shops that are the cheapest tend to go under and leave you high and dry.

Tony pointed out that you can find authorized, certified shops at Factory Motor Parts. Those will all be brick-and-mortar shops.

People Are Buying Used Cars During The Pandemic

The automotive industry is making headlines. With COVID, people do not trust mass transit. That is causing a boom in the used car industry. So, what is Tony seeing out there?

People are investing in the car they’re driving. They want to save money due to concerns about job security. Some are moving away from public transit to having their own car. That is really accelerating the car market.
With the right mechanic and the right parts, you can make sure you have a safe, reliable ride when you buy a used car. People are choosing to replace engines over buying a new car.

Factory Motor Parts has a line of engines through a partner, C&K. They get a great deal and pass that savings on to their partner shops. Remanufactured engines and transmissions, along with extended warranties, are an affordable way to extend the life of your vehicles and keep that monthly payment low. Those warranties are nationwide. And it only takes about a week to get these engines to the shops.

What is the difference between rebuilt and remanufactured? In a remanufactured engine, parts are replaced with updated parts. A rebuilt engine is just torn down and put back together, and maybe painted.

Friendly Transmissions offers a 4-year, 40,000 mile warranty.

There are some other big expenses, things like struts. When struts get worn out, there’s more movement in the front end. That movement can start wearing down other parts. Ride control is very important to so many systems, including safety, of your car.

People are using their cars for vacations rather than flying. This got Steve going again about oil: change your oil!

What does Tony see in the future of the auto repair industry? With so many vehicles out there now, things are looking good for the long haul. Technology, as always, is changing things, but we have time to grow and adapt. Shops will be able to train up and keep up with the times.

There is an electrical vehicle surge going on. How will that affect the shops? Will that negatively impact the industry? We don’t know yet, how it’ll affect things. But changes in business models will keep the smart shops going strong.

The Hot Housing Market In Phoenix

The housing market is still a super-sellers market. For example, one listing Felecia had brought in 20 offers in the first 24 hours. It’s crazy. Inventory is lower than Felecia has seen it in a while.

What’s the news on mortgages these days? Ryan mentioned that refinances were up 100% year over year. Other mortgages are up 60%. There’s no slowing down. Purchases are up 40%. These low interest rates are driving this. Phoenix is still one of the hottest markets, with homes getting multiple bids.
If you end up having to buy a new build because there’s no other houses in the market, take a Realtor with you! You won’t pay more for that, but it could save you a ton of headaches.

How Do You Find The Right Mortgage Lender?

How do you find the right lender? Even if you have the greatest Realtor, the wrong lender can cause a deal to go sideways. That can happen when you go to a bank, rather than to somebody like Ryan. These online banks aren’t there for you when you need them.

The way you find a good lender you need to talk to a real person who answers their phone. Talk to them and see if they care about your situation. Work with someone who has some pull and connections. And competence. You need someone who knows what they’re doing.

A professional Realtor will have good connections for you. If the lender and the Realtor have a good relationship, that is what’s going to save you if problems come up. You want them to work as a team. Just like an auto shop, you don’t want the cheapest deal here, either.

Finally, get a real mortgage lender, not an app. You need somebody who will address all the issues that come up and work FOR you. Apps won’t do that. That means a deal may not close on time, or at all.

Steve once rented a U-Haul to someone who needed extra time because her house didn’t close. Steve asked, “You used a bank?” Yes, and it took another ten days to close, which cost her real money in U-Haul and storage fees. Don’t go to your local bank! Banks don’t want to lend money. Professional lenders are commission-based, which means they want your loan to close. Banks don’t care.

Sometimes, buyers spend money on inspections, termites, appraisals, and still don’t get the loan. That should never happen, and won’t with a pro.

The One-Minute Update From Matt Watson

Resident relatives need to be added to your insurance policies. With families possibly moving in together during the pandemic, make sure you keep your coverages up to date.

Also, if you get a new engine, transmission, or other updates to your car, make sure your insurance agent knows about them and gets them added to your policies.

Wrap Up

Until next week, Drive Friendly and Stay Healthy Arizona!


Tony Picarello

Tony Picarello

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