A new experimental procedure was used to analyse the corrosion behaviour of hot-dip Zn coated steel based on the association of the scanning vibrating electrode technique (SVET) and uniaxial tensile strain applied up to 3.1% in 0.01 M NaCl solutions without release of the elastic strain during the test. The nucleation of localized corrosion sites on the coating occurs at very low strain values around the yield point and the maximum current densities increase continuously with the increase of the applied strain. The nucleation of localized corrosion on the Zn surface was favoured by the rupture of the passive film in contact with the solution by the action of slip steps and fine intergranular cracks, rather than by the exposure of the steel substrate. Straining of the Zn coating immersed in the solution was comparatively a much more aggressive condition than straining the sample in air before the corrosion tests. (C) 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.