There's no way to tell over a computer. The oil level regularly gets as much as three quarts low in my '88 Grand Caravan. It makes a lot of noise, but I just drive it home and throw some more in. Have to add about a quart every 1500 miles. I haven't actually drained the oil to change it in over nine years! That is not neglect. That is abuse. And I regularly pull a tandem axle enclosed trailer that's bigger than the van.
If your oil light was just flickering, you weren't totally out of oil yet. Oil had to be getting through the filter to get to the sending unit to turn the light off so even though the pressure was low, oil was still circulating and lubricating moving parts. If the engine wasn't losing power or making unusual noises, more than likely no damage was done.
Thursday, January 19th, 2012 AT 5:56 PM