Top Five: Car Expenses

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A car costs a lot! It's best to make room in your budget for certain expenses before buying a car: gas, insurance, registration, basic parts and emergency repairs.  Here are the top 5 costs for using a car.


  • If you don't want your car to stop in the middle of the road, you have to make sure there's gas in it, unless you have an electric car!
  • The price posted by gas stations varies depending on several factors (cost to buy and transport the gas, federal and provincial taxes, profit, etc.).
  • In Quebec, a government agency called the Régie de l'énergie oversees the posted price of gas.


If you drive a car, you must pay an annual fee the Société de l'assurance automobile (SAAQ) for Quebec's public automobile insurance plan. You also have to buy insurance to cover physical damage caused to your car in case of an accident. These two types of insurance are required by law to ensure that all users of the roads have minimum protection for accidents.

Driver's Licence and Registration

To drive a car, you need a learner's licence, probationary licence or driver's licence. Also, you car must be registered. There are annual fees to pay the SAAQ for both a licence and registration.

Summer Tires? and Winter Tires Too!

  • Your car must have winter tires between December 15th and March 15th. You therefore have to pay to have your tires changed, unless you do this yourself or a friend does it for you for free!
  • All cars on the road must be in good condition. When the tires on your car are worn out, you have to buy new ones.

Maintenance and Repairs

  • When your car isn't in good condition, you have to repair it. Your safety and that of all users of the road depends on it. To make sure your car runs well, it's best to do regular maintenance.
  • Visits to the garage? they cost money and are difficult to anticipate. It's a good idea to make room in your budget for emergency repairs.

What if you don't follow the law?

You could be fined in these situations:

  • You drive your car without insurance.
  • You don't pay the SAAQ the annual fees for your driver's licence and registration.
  • Your car doesn't have winter tires between December 15th and March 15th.
  • Your car isn't in good working order, but is on the road anyways.

For more information, visit the Société de l'assurance automobile du Québec website.

Important !
This article explains in a general way the law that applies in Quebec. This article is not a legal opinion or legal advice. To find out the specific rules for your situation, consult a lawyer or notary.