This paper is concerned with the development of a micro-mechanical methodology for prediction of fretting fatigue crack nucleation life and short crack propagation. The methodology employs critical accumulated plastic slip as a fatigue indicator parameter for microstructure-sensitive crack nucleation. Crystal plasticity unit-cell models are employed for calibration of constitutive and crack nucleation parameters and a crystal plasticity frictional contact model of the fretting test rig is developed to predict the micro-scale surface fretting damage, crack nucleation and estimated micro-crack propagation. The methodology is validated against fretting fatigue tests using a fretting bridge arrangement for 316L stainless steel. & 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.