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Question about dealing with a mechanic

I’ve got a 88 Toyota corolla all trac, which is a relatively rare car especially down here in Florida. The problem I have is when I take it to have work done on it. The car has a lot of non standard corolla parts, I’m assuming it’s because the car was made in Japan and not in the states like the rest of the corollas. What I run into without fail is when I take it to have work done they tell me it will take X amount of time and I always get a call right about when I would have to get the car saying that they ordered the wrong parts and it is going to take longer. The last two times I had work done on the brakes I specifically told the mechanic that the car used non standard parts and to make sure they got the parts for the all trac and they still got th wrong parts.
My question is, is there anything I can do to avoid this problem? I’ve got to have the master break cylinder replaced and I don’t want the job to take twice as long as it should. I don’t know if the mbc is different on my model but I don’t want to take a chance on it. Is there anything I can do to make sure the mechanic orders the right part or at least make him understand that this is a non standard car?

Try a different shop?
Or try the dealership. They should be able to order the correct parts by using the VIN number.

You can go to a car parts web site like, or They have a service where they will remember your car. Put in your car and then a regular Corolla wagon and a regular Corolla sedan, all teh same year. Then you can look up the part in question for each model. and have fitment guides that when you look up one part, it will tell you what other models that part fits.

You might try to find an independent mechanic (click on ‘Mechanics Files’ above) and establish a long-term relationship with them. That way they’ll know about your unusual car the next time you come in.

This may not be the fault of the mechanic, but the supplier from whom the mechanic is ordering the parts. The supplier may see or hear 1988 Corolla without reading or listening to any more of the description.
I have had this problem. My brother was in town and replaced the water pump on the car my parents owned–a 1969 Pontiac LeMans with the 350 V-8 engine. He installed the water pump and found that the pulleys didn’t line up. He removed the water pump and took it back to the NAPA store. It turned out that there were three different shaft links. The counter man fished the old water pump out of the bin for parts that had been exchanged and measured the shaft and finally found a matching pump.
Most mechanics try their best to get the correct part. They lose time when they have to reorder.

I wouldn’t automatically blame the mechanics for obtaining the wrong parts. Oftentimes, the person behind the parts counter will hand over a part while stating that it will fit the vehicle in question. This even happens at the dealership level and I’ve personally seen this occur even with standard, made for the market vehicles.

Driving a non-standard car does involve some headaches unfortunately.