For a few weeks now, the little oil can symbol on my dashboard would come on for about 1 second, and then turn itself off. This only happened once every few days, so I ignored it. I finally pulled into a gas station last night, and opened up the manual to my Volkswagen New Beetle to see that it was a warning for low oil pressure.
I followed the detailed instructions on how to check oil: I pulled out the dipstick, wiped it with a rag, pushed it in all the way again, and then pulled it out to see how much of the stick was covered with oil. As you can tell, this is the first time I've done this myself.
The diagram in the manual showed three areas of the dipstick: a, b and c. It was mandatory to add oil if the level was at a; you had the option of adding oil if the level was at b (but it wasn't necessary); and you were not supposed to add any oil if the level was already at c.
I did the test and there was no oil on the stick whatsoever. Not good. I poured in a whole bottle of engine oil (making sure that it was the right kind - I compared all the label markings shown in the manual), but even then only the very tip of the stick was covered with oil. It wasn't anywhere close to level a. I had to pour in another full bottle before it reached level b. Oops.
I spoke to hubby about it, and he said I'm supposed to
add change [thanks Hans!] oil every 3,000 miles. Oh. Now I know. I hope I didn't "break" my car :-(