TLC Meaning for Cars

The technical terminology relating to cars and other motor vehicles can often be confusing especially when you hear abbreviations thrown around. One such abbreviation is one you might read in a sales listing for a second hand car “TLC.”

What does TLC mean when it comes to cars? In this post we will look at what TLC is when it comes to vehicles. I promise you it’s not some ridiculous complicated term such as technoid lower carburetor, trust me and read on.

What Does TLC Mean in Cars?

Okay so let's remove the mysticism without further ado. When it comes to cars TLC holds the same meaning as it does to us, simple tender loving care. It’s nothing technical at all and please don’t feel embarrassed, because with all the tech terms in automotive vehicles it could well have been something more complex.

So when you see TLC mentioned in a car sales advert you should probably read that as the vehicle has seen better days and some things need fixing. Frankly though haven’t we all so don’t be too hard on the car it could still be a gem.

How to Show Your car Some TLC

Well now we know what TLC means when it comes to cars. Maybe we should look at a few ways we can try and do just that. Showing a little tender loving care to the car can not only help improve it but also stop it from deteriorating further.

The saying suggests that if you look after your car it will look after you and this is a very correct statement. So as we move through this post we will discuss how to show our cars some love and try to keep them running for as long as we can.

Buying a Car That Needs “TLC”

You may have come in search of the answer to this question based on a car sales listing so having found out the answer you may be second guessing making that purchase. Obviously if you are looking for a problem free vehicle that won’t be a bundle of issues then move on to another car.

If however you have some mechanical skill or are looking to learn a few things then maybe there could be some worth in that car for you. Sometimes we see a car that we just love and we don’t know why but buying one that needs TLC can be a money pit unless you are actually looking for a challenge.

Only buy this kind of car if you are interested in putting in some work to get it up to the level at which you need it to be.

Giving a Car TLC

Getting Started

The best place to start when giving a car some TLC is getting to know as much about the model as possible. What kind of systems does it use? How easy is it to get new parts? Do any local mechanics specialize in this type of vehicle? Etc.

Once you establish that you will be capable of keeping this car running should issues arise you can start looking at maintenance requirements.

Oil Gets Dirty

Oil is the life blood of a car without it the engine will seize up and the car may become completely useless. Unlike ourselves who have organs that clean our blood cars as of yet do not have this capability with their oil.

Over time oil gets dirty and after around 3 months or 3,000 miles of driving you will likely need to drain the old oil and replace it with clean oil. This will ensure your engine stays lubricated and running as smoothly as possible.

Cars Need Checkups as Well

It’s wise to get a general check up with our doctor every now and again. In fact it's an important component of our personal TLC. This also holds true for our cars which undergo a lot of mechanical stress from our day to day use of them.

Ensure you book your car in for regular service appointments so a professional can look out for any impending issues that may be about to arise. Every engine part you can replace before it breaks could save you fixing several other issues.

Keep Your Car Clean

A car wash isn’t just about a shiny clean looking car that turns heads it can actually help increase the life of your vehicle. Corrosive substances can build up on your car that can cause rust issues that over time can do serious damage.

Make it a habit to keep your car clean both inside and out/ You might spend a lot of time in that vehicle. It's about your own comfort and pride as well.

Drive Your Car Sensibly

I have definitely noticed a correlation between cars that are driven recklessly and at high speeds and ones that frankly are a vision of dents and outside damage. It’s not just the outside of the car that suffers from hard driving.

There’s a reason that race cars have a limited life before parts have to be replaced. This is because running cars at high pressure and temperatures can quickly wear out engine parts. I’m not saying to drive like grandma on the way to church but develop a smooth driving style and don’t thrash the life out of your engine.


If you want to keep your precious transport on all four wheels and rolling down the highways and byways you need to show it a little TLC from time to time. We all could use a little tender loving care and so can our cars.

As a warning to second hand car buyers the term TLC in a sales listing essentially means the vehicle might be running but it’s in rough shape and likely needs work. Bargain hunters should be aware that this likely means once you buy the car you are going to have some extra costs afterward to get it working properly.

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