Engines need oil to lubricate all their moving parts. Everyone knows that. Everyone also swears by a particular brand of engine oil. The brand of oil a person uses can often be a borderline religious affair involving a lot of rituals and superstitions. This is understandable. Cars are complex machines and many people don’t feel the need to change something that appears fine. The last time I recommended a different brand of engine oil to a friend, he blamed me for every strange noise coming from his engine. “It’s that crappy engine oil of yours,” he would insist. Never mind that the car was already making the same noises before and kept making them long after he had reverted to his old engine oil brand. But he still blames my oil for the occasional rattle even today.
Now, if you’re not too attached to a particular brand of engine oil because it’s the same one everyone in your family has always used for three generations, then pause to consider the merits of Motomaster oil. It’s one of Shell’s cheaper offerings and the user reviews are good.
Motomaster oil review: What is Motomaster oil?
Motomaster calls itself a premium oil brand but at this point, what brand of engine oil doesn’t? Motomaster is a synthetic oil sold exclusively at Canadian Tire. Motomaster oil has the distinction of being one of the cheapest engine oil brands on the market. Canadian Tire doesn’t make the oil. Shell makes it. Canadian Tire just slaps the Motomaster label on it and sells it.
Motomaster oil review: Is Motomaster virgin oil?
A subset of customers refuse to believe that Motomaster is virgin oil. Its cheapness is a major contributing factor. Many are convinced that Canadian tire has to be recycling the oil or lying somehow.
Unlike olive oil which sets high standards for virginity, virgin engine oil is simply freshly refined oil that has never been used before. Synthetic oils fit nicely into this definition because they are rarely re-refined. As Motomaster is a “new” rather than re-refined engine oil, it meets the definition of virgin oil.
Motomaster oil review: Price
The biggest selling point for Motomaster oil is its price. A five-liter jug of synthetic Motomaster oil costs CAD 26.99 (USD 21). That’s around CAD 20 (USD 16) per gallon. The prices never get much higher than this. Motomaster dino oil is even cheaper at CAD 14.39 (USD 11.27) a gallon.
Now let’s look at competitors:
- Castrol – Synthetic prices start at CAD 25.54 (USD 20) per gallon
- Mobil 1 – Synthetic prices start at CAD 46.42 (USD 36.35) per gallon
- Pennzoil – Synthetic prices start at CAD 27.26 (USD 21.35) for conventional oil and 43.94 (USD 34.41) per gallon for synthetic oil.
Motomaster is clearly the winner on price. Pennzoil’s conventional motor oil is more expensive than Motomaster which is a synthetic oil. Mobil and Pennzoil’s synthetic oils cost more than double what Motomaster does. Castrol costs 25% more. All prices were taken from Canadian Tire to ease the comparison.
Motomaster oil review: Performance
Motomaster oil provides great performance over a wide range of operating temperatures with a minimum operating temperature of -35.00 °C (-31 °F) and a flashpoint of 212 °C (413 °F). Motomaster is an all-weather oil. You can start your car when the temperatures are below freezing without needing to worry.
Being a synthetic oil, it also has the fact that it doesn’t leave sludge in your engine working to its benefit, unlike conventional dino oil which is notorious for leaving solid deposits that accumulate in your engine over time. You can also go up to 15,000 miles without needing an oil change. A one-gallon jug of Motomaster could reasonably last you a year or two.
We need to point out that other competing engine oil brands on the market like Castrol, Pennzoil, and Mobil 1 match and sometimes slightly outpace certain operational elements of Motomaster oil but not by much. Mobil 1 for example has a slightly higher flashpoint but Motomaster has a lower operating temperature.
As good as it is, Motomaster is not the best engine oil ever made. But it’s good enough for most regular applications and even some extreme ones. Coupled with its price, those attributes start looking very attractive. In its price class, Motomaster oil is king.
Motomaster oil review: Can you buy Motomaster oil outside Canada?
No, you cannot. Motomaster is an in-house brand of products sold exclusively at Canadian Tire. Canadian Tire uses the Motomaster brand for its lubricating oil and a slew of other products like tires, oil filters, air filters, battery chargers, eliminators, inflators, work lights, booster packs, and a discontinued line of spark plugs.
Canadian Tire currently only has outlets in Canada so it’s not possible to buy Motomaster oil outside Canada. You also can’t buy it online because Canadian Tire doesn’t ship outside Canada.