Getting a new car serviced isn't exactly the kind of thing I enjoy. At a minimum, it means I'll be out money and certainly the better part of a morning and/or an afternoon. In short, scheduled vehicle maintenance is rarely filled with pleasant surprises. So far, our Long Tern 2011 VW Jetta TDI is the exception.

As the 10,000 mile mark approached, the information display screen in the center of the instrument panel began to warn me. As the car is switched on, a reminder shows up in the form of a flashing wrench and the number of miles until service is needed. It gradually counts down the miles with each passing day. Sadly, this pre-programmed reminder means Jetta owners have no excuse for not getting the required service done on time.

Once the reminder started showing "100 miles" I thought I should start searching for a nearby VW dealer. Turns out the dealer closest to the AutoTrader.com office is Jim Ellis VW in Atlanta, so that's where I made the appointment. Or at least I thought I did. When I arrived, was no record of me having scheduled time for the Jetta's service. It didn't matter, though, since they took the car anyway and said the service wouldn't take long. "Short enough so that I can reasonably wait?" I asked. "Probably" said the advisor.

Fearing a long delay, I headed for the waiting room. Decent coffee and fresh doughnuts were free as was smoking fast Wi Fi. The waiting room was clean and contemporary with plenty of comfortable leather chairs and several desk-like workstations. As a side note, of the eight people in the "Customer Lounge," all had laptops and seven of them were Macs. Says something about VW owners I suppose.

Pleasant surprise No. 1: I only had to wait 35 minutes before the car was done. As I went to the cashier - surprise No. 2: "How much?" I asked. "Nothing, this service is complimentary" the cashier said. Nice. But wait, I'm skeptical, "How much for the next service?" "That one is free as well" she said. The first three scheduled maintenance intervals are free - up to 30,000 miles.

This time around the service was pretty light - oil and filter change, top off fluids, rotate tires. Still, free is free. VW ownership is working out well for us so far.

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Brian Moody heads up the AutoTrader.com editorial team. He has been an automotive writer and presenter for 15 years. Prior to that, Moody spent several years working in local television news and worked at a few used car dealerships in Sacramento, California. His first car was a 1964 Buick Skylark, but today he has a strange fascination with 1990s era GM luxury cars - don’t ask. Brian lives near Atlanta with his wife and two kids.

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