Yes, car level. The little dipstick on the cap has markings for min and max levels. You should have it near (book says within 2mm) the min mark if cold, or between the min and max if hot. Make sure you use the right fluid, too. It's a euro-spec synthetic fluid, VW lists it as G 002 000. Pentosin CHF 202 meets the VW specs and can be had at most auto stores. Or, if you happen to already have some Pentosin CHF 11S, like I have left over for my former '02, it'll work, too.