The effect of fretting wear on stress evolution in a thin, hard diamond-like carbon coating deposited on a high strength steel is simulated using a finite element (FE) based method under gross sliding conditions. The effects of coating stiffness, thickness, and coefficient of friction are studied. The trailing edge tensile stress and the leading edge compressive stress are generally predicted to reduce with wear, while the shear stress at the interface is predicted to increase. An extrapolation procedure for predicting coating wear life is shown to provide accurate and slightly conservative estimates compared with explicit modelling to complete coating wear. (C) 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.