Based on chemical composition of the corrosion product, a mathematical model was developed to predict the extent of the pillowing deformation of lap joints of LY12CZ in term of thickness inside the joint. The model can offer the capability for predicting the extent of corrosion within the joint in terms of thickness loss at the internal surfaces of the skins from the amplitude of the pillowing of the outer skin. Three-dimensional finite element model of a bolted joint have been developed in the non-linear finite element code MSC.Marc and attempts were made to validate it by comparing results with the mathematical model. The results show that corrosion pillowing can significantly increase the stress in a lap joint for material loss below the detection limit of current nondestructive inspection techniques, thus increasing the risk of premature cracking. In addition, the analyses show that the locations of maximum stress of lap joint will change with the material loss increases. Simulating the effect of corrosion on lap joint only by reducing the panel thickness will result in neoconservative life estimates if corrosion pillowing is ignored.