Updated at: 11-07-2022 - By: Lucas

If you’ve looked in the classifieds for a used car, you’ve probably seen an ad that says the car “needs some TLC.” But what does it mean when it comes to cars to give them TLC?

When someone says that a car needs some TLC, they usually mean that the car’s owner hasn’t taken care of it as much as they should have. This means that it may be in need of general maintenance, may have damage on the outside, or may need to be fixed or replaced.

TLC doesn’t have to be a big deal. It can just mean that the car needs an oil change or that it has a few bumps on the outside.

This article will tell you all about the different ways you can take care of your car and how it will help you.

What Does TLC Mean for a Car?

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Whether you’re buying a used car that needs some TLC or you just want to give your own car a little TLC, there are many ways to do this.

Fluid Top Offs

One of the easiest things you can do to take care of your car is to fill up the fluids. This is also something you should take care of regularly. It’s important to keep an eye on the engine oil, transmission fluid, and engine coolant.

When people don’t take care of their cars, they often run low on any or all of these fluids. The purpose of engine oil is to keep your car’s moving parts from rubbing against each other and getting damaged.

Transmission fluid makes it easier and smoother for your car to change gears. If you don’t keep up with adding transmission fluid, you could do long-term and permanent damage to your transmission.

To keep your engine from getting too hot, engine coolant is also important. It also helps prevent rust and corrosion when your car is not being used. Coolant and engine oil can also work together to lubricate certain parts and keep them from wearing out.

Oil Changes

In addition to making sure your oil is full, you need to have oil changes as part of general care and TLC. This is usually done every 3,000 miles, but some high-quality oils can last much longer.

To change the oil, you just drain the old oil out of the system and put in new fluids. Most people also change the oil filter at this time, so that the new oil can be strained through a clean filter.

Tire Rotation

Tire rotation is often needed for cars that need some TLC, even if they have been sitting in the same place for a while. Tire rotations are used to make sure that all four tyres wear out at the same rate.

During a tyre rotation, the tyres are usually moved to different sides of the car, and sometimes the back tyres are moved to the front and the front tyres are moved to the back. This helps make sure that all four tyres wear down at the same rate.

Brake Fluid and Pad Replacement

Whether you are buying a car that has been well taken care of or one that needs some work, you should make sure the brake fluid is full and the brake pads are not worn down.

If you don’t have enough brake fluid or your brake pads are very worn, you and other people on the road could be in danger.

If you hit the brakes and don’t feel the car slowing down right away, you might need to check the brake fluid or pads. Also, if you press the brake and hear grinding or squeaking, the brake pad is worn and needs to be replaced.

Interior and Exterior Detailing

If a car has a good engine but still needs TLC, it could be because of problems inside or outside the car. On the outside, there may be dents or paint that needs to be fixed or that is peeling or chipping.

Also, a car that needs TLC on the outside could have rust or corrosion, usually along the floor boards or lower parts of the car.

Interior TLC could mean that the upholstery has stains or tears, the carpet is in bad shape, or the liner in the overhead compartment needs to be fixed or replaced.

How Much Does Car TLC Cost?

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The cost of TLC will depend on a number of things, like how old the vehicle is, what model it is, and whether the TLC it needs is easy or hard.

It will also depend on where you get your car fixed and maintained. For example, the prices will be much lower if you can do the work yourself.

If you take it to a commercial garage, the costs will be higher because you will also have to pay for labour.

In general, prices can vary a lot from one job to the next. For instance:

Oil Change: This usually includes draining the oil and replacing it, as well as replacing the oil filter. On average, this can cost between $35 and $75 for most cars. If your car needs synthetic oil of a higher quality, the price will be higher.

Tire Rotation: Many garages offer tyre rotation for reasonable prices, around $40, but it can cost up to $150 depending on the size and style of tyres. Also, tyre rotation is usually free when you buy a new tyre at the same place.

Engine Tune-Up: A basic tune-up that includes replacing or cleaning the spark plugs will cost between $60 and $100. Costs can be a lot higher for tune-ups on cars that are more unusual or have a lot of computer parts.

Change the brake pads: It costs about $150 per axle to buy new brake pads and have them put on. But if you need to replace both axles or need brake pads that are very specific, this can cost up to $300 per axle.

Some of these costs can be avoided if you keep up with general car maintenance and give your car some TLC on a regular basis. For example, if you keep up with topping off your car’s fluids, you won’t need an oil change as often as you might if you didn’t take care of your car.


Taking care of your car with a little TLC can be a part of your regular maintenance and care. But if a car says it needs a little TLC, you should be ready to fix a few problems that have been ignored.

This can be as easy as changing the fluids or as hard as replacing the transmission.

Giving your car the care it needs on a regular basis can not only save you money in the long run, but also keep you safe on the road. When you drive your car, you and everyone else on the road will be safe.