What Is TLC For Cars? (Interior + Exterior)

In the car world, you tend to hear a lot of abbreviations. The acronym TLC has been used as car slang in the automotive industry for years. But what does TLC mean when it comes to cars, and how can you make sure that your car receives some TLC?

What Does TLC Mean in Cars?

TLC stands for Tender Loving Care, and when it comes to TLC for a car, it refers to the care and maintenance of your car. If you give your vehicle some TLC, it is bound to last longer, drive smoother, and is less likely to break down.

Giving TLC to your car will keep it on the road longer, and you will most likely pay less in repairs and maintenance.

However, TLC can also stand for the Taxi and Limousine Commission in New York City, USA.

What does it mean when a car needs TLC?

Cars that are starting to show some wear and tear may need a little TLC to get them back to peak performance. Most car owners will regularly wash their car, but giving them TLC means going a little bit further, like doing an oil change, replacing the brake pads, or checking the brake fluid and transmission fluid.

If you buy a used car, it may especially need some TLC as you do not know how the previous owner took care of it.

What Is a TLC License?

A TLC license (known as a universal license) is not related to taking care of your car, but rather it is a type of license that allows drivers to drive a yellow or green taxi, limousine, black car, or livery. It is issued by the Taxi and Limousine Commission. If you are going to drive for a company, you have to get this type of license.

You can easily identify TLC licensed cars with special TLC plates.

How much is a TLC plate for a car?

The costs for TLC vehicles are as follows:

  • $550 for vehicles under 500 miles
  • $625 for vehicles over 500 miles.

Where to find TLC vehicle license number

You will have to have a roadworthy car and then affiliate with an approved TLC base. You then have to get TLC-approved insurance for your car. Once these things are in order, you must fill out a TLC application, register your vehicle with the DMV, and get your vehicle approved for a TLC license.

What Is TLC for Hire Vehicle Permit?

A TLC for hire permit means that your car has approved TLC plates, and you can begin providing lifts for passengers. You can apply for such a permit through an application form found here.

How to Give TLC to Your Car Exterior

Below we have some tips on how to provide your car with some tender loving care.

Wash your car

Keeping the exterior of your car clean may not seem important since it will just get dirty again. However, there are benefits to you and your car. If you thoroughly wash, polish, and wax the car, the paint job will last much longer. Replacing a paint job because of chips or rust can be very expensive, so giving your vehicle a proper wash will help you save money.

Take care of dents and scratches

Any damage to the paint may lead to expensive repairs later on if the car starts to rust. Dents can easily be repaired by a mechanic (or by yourself if you are brave) and won’t cost a lot to fix.

Wax and polish your vehicle

As mentioned above, not only is washing your car important but so is following up a good shampoo with wax and polish. It will protect the paint and will also help your car stay cleaner for longer.

Service regularly

If you are able to do a DIY car service, great! But for those who cannot, stick to your car’s service schedule. During a service, the mechanic will check the brake pads, brake fluid, engine oil, power steering fluid, and do an oil change. If possible, you should request the use of synthetic oil as it is cleaner.

You can also use a service to have the tires rotated if you notice the car is pulling to one side when driving. Regular tire rotations will help with fuel efficiency.

How to Give TLC to Your Car Interior

Once you have taken care of the outside of your car, it is time to pay attention to the interior – it is, after all, where you spend the most time!

Vacuum and clean the interior carpet

Getting rid of any dust, grime, and dog hairs on the inside of your car will not only make it look brand new but will also add to the resale value of the car.

Clean the interior windows and mirror

Grime, fingerprints, and wet dog noses can quickly mess up windows and mirrors. You can take proper care of your windows and mirrors by cleaning them with a dedicated window cleaner.

Remove dashboard dust and grime

The first sign of a car needing tender loving care on the inside is if the dashboard is covered in dust. You can sweep away most of the dust with a brush or dry cloth and then wipe it clean with a wet cloth and some soap. If you have leather or metal finishes, make sure these materials are properly treated.

Clean your seats

Just like you sometimes find coins under your couch cushions in your house, so too do your car seats trap dirt and crumbs. How you give your car seats TLC depends on the types of seats you have. You can vacuum fabric seats and give them a good scrub, while you should be more careful with leather upholstery.

Remove and clean floor mats

Floor mats are easily overlooked because we expect them to get dirty – it is their purpose! Because they are removable, floor mats are also the easiest to clean. Simply shake them out, and your car will feel instantly cleaner.

Why You Should Give Your Car TLC

Save on repair costs

The vehicle industry thrives on expensive repairs, and you can prevent contributing by giving your car TLC before repairs are required.

Improve fuel economy

A clean engine (including fresh engine oil and transmission fluid) and tires that are frequently rotated all contribute to improving your car’s fuel economy and drive.

Better performance

Old oil and other easy fixes can cause cars to have subpar performance. By maintaining your vehicle and giving it the love and respect it deserves, you are bound to get improved performance out of it.

Improved safety

Similar to performance, a car that is well maintained has less risk of breaking down unexpectedly.

Where to Find a Good TLC Mechanic

If you are looking for a mechanic that will give your vehicle the best TLC, try looking at smaller, local mechanics and ask them questions before taking your car in. Also, pay attention to any online reviews as you can learn a lot from previous customers’ experiences.

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Author: Dave Johnston

Dave is a hands-on automotive technician with experience in performing service, diagnostics, and repairs on domestic and imported vehicles. He enjoys writing and sharing his knowledge far and wide.

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