When Heather Peters bought her Honda Civic Hybrid in 2006, the car's mileage numbers had her jumping with excitement.
"They were advertising 50 miles per gallon, and you'll save the planet and it sounded great, and I didn't mind paying a little bit more because it was going to save money," she said.
But Peters said after several years of driving the Honda, and after Honda reprogrammed the car's software, her 50 miles per gallon ended up being closer to 30 miles per gallon.
Thousands of Civic hybrid owners disappointed with sub-par mileage filed a class-action lawsuit against Honda, but a proposed settlement by Honda would have only given owners $100 to $200 each and a $1,000 credit on purchase of a new car.
Peters opted out of the class-action lawsuit and fought the auto giant in small claims court in Torrance, where she was seeking $10,000.
"Small claims, never tried it before, but it seemed like a good idea," she said.
Honda's representatives at the court refused to comment on the case, but Peters said she's happy with the way it went.
"Even if it gives me nothing, I'm glad that I did it. I brought to light some back-room deals and obscure government documents that nobody knew about," she said.