Increasing environmental awareness and demanding low energy consumption are of the top priorities for future vehicles manufacturing companies. This can be achieved by reducing wear and friction of engine components, so that its efficiency and lifetime can be increased. Surface treatments and coatings contribute to a better lubrication with oils and can participate significantly in achieving these goals. In this paper, diamond-like carbon (DLC) coating has been incorporated to the vehicle piston rings with different RF powers using magnetron sputtering method. The tribological properties like wear and coefficient of friction have been analysed using Pin-on-Disk tribometer. Micro-hardness and nano-hardness of the coated piston rings were characterized by micro-indentor and nano-indentation processes. Surface microstructure and elemental compositions were observed using Scanning Electron Microscopy. Experimental results demonstrated that the DLC coating shows lower wear and friction under similar operating conditions as compared to uncoated piston rings. Thus, usage of DLC coating has enhanced the engine life time. Silicon interlayer has also been applied between nitrided piston rings and DLC layer in order to have better coating adhesion. The properties of the interlayer are not studied but usage of it is found to protect DLC coating from delamination. © 2019, © 2019 Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining and Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.