I worked as a mechanic for 40 years. The last 20 was at major car dealerships. I was a working shop foreman. Most of the issues for mechanics were created by the management. Service writers were encouraged to upsell the customer for additional work, often not needed. The mechanics were encouraged to upsell in order to get good jobs dispatched to them. If you didn't play the game, you got the crappy dirty jobs. Mechanics had to buy their own tools. You could easily spend $30,000 annually just to keep up with changing technology in tools and in replacing lost or stolen tools. Management would not want to spend money training mechanics on newest technology. Usually a few top techs would get occasional training and the rest were supposed to glean their info from them. Since everyone was under the gun to produce, no time was allowed to pass along the knowledge. You were punched in on the time clock on each job. If you didn't keep up with the flat rate schedule, you were berated or suffered pay loss against flat rate. I saw a lot of talented mechanics leave the trade because of hassles, not because they couldn't perform. Lastly, too many shops want to hire at a low starting wage with no guarantee of increases. The tools cost just as much for a beginner as they do for a senior tech. The industry has long suffered under those conditions and the customers end up paying more.
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Once again a great car from the 2000's goes unnoticed and neglected. The 2002 to 2005 Ford Thunderbird is a vehicle that was even downplayed by Ford throughout it's manufactured life. It is a fun throwback to the 50's 2 seat roadster. Available in both convertible and hardtop version. Or in many cases both convertible top and hardtop. Comfortable, reasonably good handling and V8 power allows for open air cruising or coupe with air conditioning. The aftermarket support is almost non existent, maybe that is why it didn't make the list. The only real complaint I have is that Ford put the battery in the trunk and didn't provide an external lock to access it if it went dead. A computer controlled electrical system that is not driven regularly can create a dead battery and no way to open the trunk. I found that accessing the fuse box under the hood and connecting a battery charger there will allow the unlock button for the trunk to operate. Values for these cars has remained stagnant, but who knows what the future will bring. i know that my 2005 Fiftieth Anniversary version always brings a smile to my face whenever I drive it. I have a Supercharged 1930 Ford roadster and 1967 Mustangs (2), a 1969 Cougar XR7, a Supercharged 1947 Ford Coupe, a 2013 Mazda MX5 Grand Touring and a 1940 Ford Tudor Streetrod and yet the Thunderbird is still my favorite.
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