In order to improve the adhesion strength between diamond-like carbon (DLC) coatings and the austenitic stainless steels, DLC coatings were prepared on the surface of untreated and nitridied AISI 316L at different deposition temperatures by plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition (PECVD) technology. Phase structure and tribological properties of the coating were investigated. X-ray diffraction (XRD) and Raman spectroscopy were used to characterize the phase structure of the coatings. The cross-sectional morphology was observed by scanning electron microscope (SEM), and the depth distribution of nitrogen and carbon elements was measured by EDS. Nano-indentation instrument, friction and wear tester, 3D optical microscope and scratch tester were used to evaluate the tribological properties of DLC coatings. The results show that the adhesion strength and wear resistance of DLC coatings combined with nitriding are higher than that of the single DLC coatings. Deposited at 100 degrees C, accompanied by the best modification, the hardness and adhesion strength increases by 25% and 175%, respectively, and the comprehensive performance is the best. During the deposition of DLC coatings, the nitrogen atoms in the nitrided layer are re-distributed due to the diffusion, increasing the thickness of the nitrided layer and decreasing the gradient of hardness, which contributes to a better transition between the substrate and the DLC coatings.