A cold rolled low carbon steel has been annealed at sufficiently low temperatures (300 to 500 °C) in order to promote recovery without interaction with recrystallization. The recovery kinetics has been followed by using magnetic coercive field (Hc) measurements. The microstructural changes associated with the observed decrease in Hc, produced by the recovery, have been analysed by TEM observations. The experimental data have been adequately modelled using various formulations reported in the literature. The kinetics of the dislocation hardening contribution to the yield stress has been derived from the kinetics of the coercive field, taking into account the existing linear relationship between both variables.