Characterization of the TiN coatings oxidized in air at temperatures at 600 and 700°C for 30 min was carried out by X-ray diffraction (XRD), atomic force microscopy (AFM), transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and Auger electron spectroscopy (AES). TiN thin films with a Ti interlayer were prepared by hollow cathode discharge ion plating on AISI 304 stainless steel. Both XRD and TEM results show that the TiN coatings and Ti interlayer have columnar structure with (111) and (0002) preferred orientations, respectively. AFM results show the existence of pinholes on the surface of specimens due to electropolishing process of the steel substrate, and the surface roughness (Ra) changes from 3.5 nm for the as-deposited specimen to 11.6 nm after oxidation at 700°. After oxidation, the TiO2 oxide layer formed on the specimen surface was porous and retained the columnar structure as the original TiN coating. The microstructure of the Ti interlayer gradually changed from columnar to polycrystalline structure due to grain growth. The Auger elemental depth profiling indicated that interdiffusion of the Ti interlayer with steel substrate had occurred during the oxidation process.