Carbonitriding is a metallurgical surface modification technique that is widely used in the automotive industry to increase surface hardness and wear resistance. Given the problems associated with carbonitriding, such as dimensional distortion, oxidation and non-uniform surface hardness, nitrocarburizing has been proposed as an alternative heat treatment method to improve the surface characteristics. The major advantages of ferritic nitrocarburizing are the minimal dimensional changes and distortion due to the low process temperature at which no phase transformations occur. This increases productivity and product quality, and decreases costs. The focus of this study was to determine the effects of carbonitriding and ferritic nitrocarburizing processes on the dimensional changes and residual stresses in a steel used for automotive applications. Navy C-ring specimens and prototype stamped parts made from SAE 1010 plain carbon steel were used in the testing. Gas, vacuum and ion ferritic nitrocarburizing processes with different heat treatment parameters were investigated. X-ray diffraction techniques were used for the residual stresses evaluation and surface phase analysis of the specimens.