Home Automotive AdviceDetailing and Car Care TLC Meaning Cars: Tender Loving Care For Your Vehicle

TLC Meaning Cars: Tender Loving Care For Your Vehicle

by Jordan Harris
Simple Green To Wash Car

We, humans, crave love and care. However, we are not alone in this aspect. Our vehicles also need some TLC to work at their best. But, what is TLC meaning cars? After reading this article, you’ll have an exact answer to that burning question.

If you have ever gone car shopping on the internet or classifieds, you would have surely come across the term “Needs a little TLC”.  In short, this means that the vehicle needs some work in order to get it back to perfect condition, both in aesthetics and performance.

In contrast, a vehicle that has received TLC is probably in near perfect condition, as the owner has treated it with love and care. If you aren’t sure how to give TLC to your vehicle yet, don’t panic. We will tell you everything you need to know. So, without further ado, let’s move on to the first section.

TLC Meaning

In the automotive world, we use several abbreviations to describe important aspects of vehicles. MPG, BHP, ABS, AWD, and 4WD are some of the most popular ones. In the same way, the term TLC means “Tender Loving Care”. Some people also define it as “Tender Love and Care”.

tlc meaning cars

No matter how you define TLC meaning in cars, the basic idea is maintaining a vehicle properly and replacing any defective parts with new ones. In short, the main goal of giving a car TLC is to keep it in pristine condition.

The main benefit of carrying out TLC on a vehicle is avoiding the risk of major reliability issues. However, TLC in cars involves a number of activities that take both time and effort.

But, taking the effort in keeping your vehicle in perfect condition will surely pay off in the future. We say that because problems that may seem minor at present can develop into major, catastrophic failures down the line.


We all love and admire our vehicles, and giving TLC to them is the best way to keep them on the road for longer. There are a number of ways to provide TLC to a vehicle. Some of the most important ones include,

Now, let’s go through each of these aspects in more detail. This will help you understand the concept of TLC in cars thoroughly.

TLC Meaning Cars #1 – Changing Engine Oil and Filters

Carrying out basic maintenance ranks at the top of car TLC. Changing the engine oil and filters should be done at the correct intervals to keep the engine running at its optimum level. Not only that, good engine oil keeps the engine lubricated, removes contaminants from the internals, and also prolongs its lifespan.


The time interval in which the oil should be changed varies from vehicle to vehicle. Other factors which have an impact on the time interval include the vehicle manufacturer and the type of oil. Typically, conventional engine oil should be changed between every 3000 – 5000 miles. In contrast, synthetic oils can last between 7500 to 10,000 miles.

TLC Meaning Cars #2 – Checking Tire Condition

The tires are what keep our vehicles on the road, so having good tread on them is really important. Contrary to popular belief, all four tires of the vehicle do not function in the same manner. In fact, the front tires of a vehicle operate in a different way to those at the rear. As a result, the tread on the front and rear tires don’t wear out evenly.

To ensure that the tread wear remains even on all tires, they should be rotated at regular intervals. Generally, it is recommended to carry out a tire rotation every 6000 to 8000 miles (for more insight, check out our guide on tire rotation and balance cost near me). You can get a tire rotation at the same time as an oil change to keep things simpler.

Uneven tire wear can lead to alignment issues as you drive the vehicle further. In the same way, if you notice smooth patches at the edges of the tire, you should get the wheel alignment adjusted.

Another important aspect you should check on the tires is the tire pressure. A basic tire pressure gauge is all you need to check whether all four tires are inflated as they should. This is important because over-inflated or under-inflated tires are safety hazards. The manufacturer-specified tire pressure is listed in the owner’s manual as well as in the vehicle’s door frame.

TLC Meaning Cars #3 – Regular Fluid Inspections

Modern vehicles rely on a number of fluids to function properly. Some of the most important ones include,

All these fluids should be regularly inspected when the vehicle is parked on flat ground. It is important to keep all these fluids topped off at all times. If you aren’t sure about the exact fluid levels, it is better to take the vehicle to a mechanic and let them take a look at it.

TLC Meaning Cars #4 – Checking The Brakes

The brakes are just as important as the engine. Who wants to drive a car that can’t be stopped, right? You should check the brake pads every now and then to make sure that they aren’t excessively worn. The wear indicators on the brake pads help to determine when they should be replaced.

Typically, the brake pads are recommended to be replaced between every 25,000 to 50,000 miles. Additionally, the brake rotors last between 30,000 to 70,000 miles. Although a worn brake rotor can be resurfaced, we recommend replacing them if they are worn excessively.

TLC Meaning Cars #5 – Inspecting Exterior Lights

Occasionally, the exterior lights of the vehicle should be inspected to make sure whether they are functioning as intended. However, you will need the help of a friend to carry out these tests.

Start off by checking the headlights, sidelights, fog lights, and turn signals at the front of the vehicle. Then, move to the rear of the vehicle to check out the brake lights, parking lights, and rear turn signals.

TLC Meaning Cars #6 – Battery Test

The battery is another part of the vehicle that should be regularly tested. Visually inspect it occasionally to make sure that there isn’t any corrosion on the batteries. If you spot any, clean it with a solution of baking soda and water.

On the other hand, most repair shops will test your battery free of charge. The general lifespan of a battery is around 3 to 5 years. However, the lifespan can vary depending on how you use your vehicle.

TLC Meaning Cars #7 – Checking The Suspension

Standing over each of the vehicle’s wheels and pushing it down firmly should be enough to give you an idea about the condition of its suspension. This is called a bounce test, and if the suspension is good, the vehicle should settle back into its original position immediately.

But, if the vehicle keeps bouncing up and down, you might want to get the suspension checked out by a mechanic. Faults in the wishbones, shock absorbers, or springs can all lead to this continuous bouncing.

We hope that now you have a clear understanding of what TLC means in the context of cars. Did you know that you can get a TLC license plate for your car? Let’s talk all about it in the next section.

TLC License Plate

A TLC plate is a special type of license plate that assures passengers of the safety of the vehicle they are traveling in. This is especially important for vehicles used in ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft. However, there are some requirements that should be fulfilled in order to acquire a TLC license plate.

1. Buying An Already Approved Vehicle

The easiest way to get a TLC license plate is to lease or purchase a vehicle that already has one. There are three categories of vehicles that the TLC recognizes. They are named livery, black, and limousine. Furthermore, TLC license plates are only issued to vehicles that are either battery-electric powered, wheelchair accessible, or have a lease-to-own agreement.

2. Connecting To A Dispatch Base

A dispatch base simply refers to a company like Uber, Lyft to Gett that you plan to drive for with the TLC-approved vehicle. A base letter should be acquired by the company as certified proof that you are working for them.

3. Purchasing Insurance

To acquire a TLC license plate, the minimum required insurance should be purchased. Owners of vehicles with eight or fewer seats should purchase commercial liability insurance, which has a minimum insurance cover of $300,000 per accident and $10,000 per person.

The minimum insurance limit for no-fault coverage is $200,000. In the same way, the limit for property damage is set at $100,000. But, you should keep in mind that this insurance does not offer coverage for collisions.

4. Submitting An Application

Several official documents are required to submit a TLC license plate. These include the owner’s ID, proof of ownership, lease-to-own agreement, and insurance certificates. All the documents should be filled out and submitted online. If all goes well, you’ll receive the TLC license letter within 20 days of submitting the documents.

TLC Vehicle Inspection

Regularly inspecting your vehicle is the best way to ensure that it is getting the tender loving care that it deserves. There are three main areas that should be covered in a TLC vehicle inspection. They are the interior, exterior, and engine.

1. Interior

We spend a good chunk of our lives in the interior of a vehicle. So, it is no surprise that this is an area of the vehicle that deserves the most TLC. The first step should be vacuuming out the interior, cleaning the surfaces, and essentially giving it a deep clean. This will get rid of the most prominent junk and dirt strewn about the interior.

Then, you can move on to the nooks and crannies of the interior. Start off by removing all the carpets and mats on the floor. These can be washed in the washing machine.


If there are any deep stains, clean them using a microfiber sponge and all-purpose auto cleaner.

You can even clean all glass surfaces of the vehicle like the windshield, windows, and the rear windshield using some auto glass cleaner. This will surely make them appear several years younger. Not only that, cleaning the glass will improve the visibility, making the vehicle safer to drive as well.

2. Exterior

The exterior of your vehicle is always exposed to the elements, and as a result, gets the most wear and tear. However, with a little TLC, you can get it back looking better than ever. Waxing the exterior of the vehicle is one of the best ways of improving its appearance.

Getting minor damage like scratches, dents, and blemishes fixed as soon as possible is also important. Although a minor flaw like a scratch won’t bother you now, it has the risk of snowballing into a rust spot down the line.

On top of that, having exterior damage also devalues your vehicle when the time comes to sell it. So, it is best that you take care of these issues as early as you possibly can.

3. Engine

Other than carrying out the regular maintenance procedures we discussed earlier, having an eye out for overall engine performance is also important. An engine that is not properly maintained is bound to have issues down the line. Not only that, the engine won’t perform at the optimal level too. Doing some TLC on the engine can have a drastic impact on how it runs.

Checking the condition of the different parts of the vehicle is also important. As time goes on, various components can wear out, resulting in many reliability issues.

Swapping out worn down or faulty parts with new ones is not only good for the vehicle, but for your safety as well.

One of the best ways to make sure that your vehicle is not suffering from engine issues is by checking the exhaust system. If there is a lot of smoke coming out of it, there is a high chance of your engine suffering from some serious issue. If this is the case with your vehicle, we highly recommend taking it to a mechanic.

Washing A Car With Tender Loving Care

Washing your vehicle is an activity that has some real TLC benefits. First and foremost, it gives the vehicle a fresh, new appearance. This improves others’ perceptions of you as well. On the other hand, washing a car avoids potential damage too.

You see, as you drive a vehicle, natural elements like mud, dirt, and rain attach themselves to your vehicle. These substances contain minerals, that can damage the paint of your vehicle. By regularly washing the vehicle with TLC, you eliminate this risk entirely.

Finally, washing a car with TLC has financial benefits too. As humans, the exterior of a vehicle is what catches our eyes first. If you keep your vehicle looking fresh and clean, it will surely attract a buyer who is willing to pay top dollar for it.

However, there are some things you should keep in mind when washing your vehicle. First and foremost, we suggest you avoid automatic car washes as much as possible. Not only do they scratch the paint of your vehicle, but they also cost more too.

The best way to wash a car is to handwash it in the comfort of your home. If you have the time, give a good wax to the car too. This will give it a shiny and pleasant appearance that will be admired out on the road.

Treating your vehicle with TLC can reap many benefits down the line. Are you curious about what those are? If so, follow along!

Benefits Of Car TLC

1. Increasing Safety

As a start, treating a vehicle with TLC increases its overall safety. Constantly inspecting the various elements of a vehicle will make sure that no surprising failures occur, thus reducing the risk of an accident. On top of that, performing regular maintenance inspections will help you spot potential issues long before they actually occur.

2. Lowering Running Costs

Giving the engine some TLC will make sure that it is running as well as it can. As a result, it won’t use up any more fuel than it needs to. In this day and age where fuel prices are sky high, saving even a drop of fuel will have an impact on your wallet.

However, an engine that is not well maintained will waste fuel. In this case, you’ll have to fill up the gas tank more frequently, costing both time and money.

Not only does giving a car TLC save fuel costs (you could also learn more about whether does driving faster use more gas), but it also reduces the general maintenance cost as well. You see, fixing minor issues as soon as they pop up will save you from paying thousands of dollars in repair bills down the line. Regular checkups are the best way to keep your vehicle on the road for longer.

3. High Resale Value

Taking care of your vehicle will show its importance when it comes time to sell it too. You see, people tend to pay more for a vehicle that has received some TLC. So, if you want to get the best possible price when you are selling a vehicle, don’t forget to treat it with tender love and care.

4. Protecting The Environment

We are living in a time and age where being environmentally conscious is more important than ever. Replacing old parts with new ones as well as taking care of the engine will have a great effect on reducing the harmful emissions from your vehicle’s exhaust.

5. Saving Time

Let’s be real, none of us want to be stranded on the side of the road with a broken-down car. Giving your vehicle some TLC is the best way to avoid this unpleasant experience.

Conclusion For TLC Meaning Cars


Although treating a vehicle with tender love and care may seem like a time-consuming task, it is one that brings a whole host of benefits along with it. Once you get used to it, looking after a car turns into a fun and interesting chore.

By simply checking the fluid levels, rotating the tires, inspecting the battery, and waxing the exterior, you can save a huge sum of money that will otherwise be spent on car repair bills.

FAQs On TLC Meaning Cars

What Does TLC Stand For

In the car world, TLC stands for Tender Loving Care. However, some people also define it as Tender Love and Care. No matter how you define it, the basic idea is to take good care of your vehicle.

What Does TLC Mean

TLC means treating your vehicle with tender loving care. Activities like checking the fluid levels, tire rotations, changing the engine oil, inspecting the battery, performing suspension checks, and cleaning the vehicle all come under TLC.

What Is TLC In A Car

Taking good care of your vehicle is the basic meaning of TLC in a car. This has a number of benefits, including the likes of increasing longevity, reducing harmful emissions, and minimizing maintenance costs.

What Does DTE Mean In A Car

In a car, DTE means Distance Till Empty. It indicates the estimated range you can travel before the fuel tank runs dry. In electric cars, DTE means the remaining battery range. Once this reaches the zero mark, you won’t be able to travel any further. However, most modern cars come with warning systems to warn you before this happens.

What Does SV Stand For Nissan

SV stands for Standard Value, which is a trim level offered by many Nissan vehicles. The SV ranks above the base trim levels, but still lacks some of the bells and whistles of top-of-the-line models. All in all, the SV can be seen as a trim level that offers both great value and features.

What Does LS Mean On A Chevy

LS or Luxury Sport is one of the most basic trim levels that come in Chevrolet vehicles. It ranks below the LT trim but comes with some great features like a plush interior and premium technology.

You may also like

Leave a Comment