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Engine Oil


I came in late on the engine oil discussion and am totally confused. I have a 93 s4 with 55k on it and have had all oil changes done at the dealer since day one.  Now I am reading all this about using synthetics. Am I really better off we this type of fake oil and how often should I change the oil when using synths.  My understanding is that it lasts much longer.  Also since some on the posting have said it cuts valve train noise, does this means that it is thicker (higher viscosity) and I will have cold start problems in the winter.  I just need to be better educated.