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I had the oil changed (synthetic oil, at least supposedly) on my wife's 2004 VW Bug a couple of weeks ago, and the other day she was coming home and she said the oil light came on. I checked the dipstick and there seemed to be plenty of oil in there, so I started the car up. It ran for about five minutes, then the oil light dinged and lit up. It only dinged for about five seconds, though, and then the light went off completely.

Stopped the car and checked again, oil was fine. Started it up again and a few minutes later, the same thing happened. This time I let it run, and after the light stopped dinging and went off, it stayed off for about another five minutes, then dinged and went off again.

Honestly, I'm not that handy with cars (especially this bug), and I'm really confused about it. Any ideas on this one? Was it the oil change that set this off? First and foremost, is this something that would make it dangerous to drive the car to a shop, and I should have it towed?

This is my first post, but I've lurked on this forum for a while. I really appreciate any advice you guys could give me, you really seem to know your stuff. Thanks in advance.
 

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The light is for low oil pressure, not level. Definitely something that should be looked into. Could be just a bad sensor, or there could be a bigger issue. I'm not much of an expert on the issue, but I know others here know it well.
 

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Remove and clean your oil pan and pickup tube. If there's not a ton of sludge, you could run some seafoam and then change the oil again. Be careful with that though, too much sludge being freed up could also cause serious issues.
 

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The problem could be too much oil. If the oil level is too high the crankshaft can hit the oil and cause it to foam after the engine has run a couple of minutes. When the oil foam gets drawn into the oil pump the pressure drops and causes the oil light to come on. The level should be within the hash marks on the dipstick and in no case above the upper bend on the stick. Be sure the car is level (doesn't roll in neutral with the brakes off) when you check the oil level.
 

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Ideally, i would not drive the car; until the problem is fixed. First, I would scan the car trouble codes and see if there is any. Then, post up those codes here and we will try to help you with diagnosing the problem, based on what the codes are. Then, I would check the oil pressure, by using a oil pressure test kit (mechanical gauge, bypasses any possible electrical issues); that way you can confirm, it is okay and not damage the engine (low oil pressure). If it is within specification and the pick up tube seems clean without any sludge in the engine/pan etc; then I would start looking into the electrical system for problems (oil pressure sending unit, coolant temperature sending unit, wiring harness/plug to the sending units etc.).



Here are some threads; that go into the issue in more detail.

http://newbeetle.org/forums/2-0-liter-gas/63626-blinking-oil-pressure-light.html#post870130

http://newbeetle.org/forums/1-8-liter-turbo/60604-intermittent-oil-pressure-light.html

Here is a affordable oil pressure test kit from Harbor Freight:

Engine Oil Pressure Test Kit (google harbor freight coupon; for an extra 20% off)

Pittsburgh Automotive - item#98949

http://www.harborfreight.com/engine-oil-pressure-test-kit-98949.html
 

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Where did you take it to get the oil changed? I personally don't trust the "quick lube" places as I've had too many problems with them and heard too many horror stories from friends and co-workers. If this is where you took it, there is just no telling what they might have done to the car.

The last horror story was less than a month ago and involved a co-worker's wife's VW Tiguan (spelling?). After the oil change, it was leaking at the oil plug (never leaked a drop of oil before). The Quick change place looked at it and said take it to the dealer. The dealer said the quick lube place stripped the threads right out of the steel bottom of the oil pan, so $300 to replace it and the also stripped oil plug. They gave him the obviously stripped oil plug to show the quick lube place. I don't think he's gone back the quick lube place to try to get them to pay the repair bill.
 

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Could just be the pressure sending unit going bad. The oil light started flashing on my Eurovan, it was full of oil with no other symptoms, i.e. engine knocking from being starved of oil with low pressure. I found the sending unit which was by the oil filter and had oil coming out by the wire. $18 dollars at Advance Auto and it was fixed. Easiest problem I have had so far.
 
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