The biomedical application of carbon/carbon (C/C) composites is limited by lacking bioactivity and releasing carbon debris. Hydroxyapatite (HA) coating has been used to improve the bioactivity of C/C composites, but it cannot reduce the release of carbon debris effectively because of poor wear resistance property. In this work, a wear-resistant layer of diamond like carbon (DLC) is applied on C/C composites, followed by an ultrasound-assisted electrochemical deposition to prepare HA coatings. The microstructure, morphology and chemical composition of the DLC layer and the HA coating are characterised by scanning electron microscopy, X-ray diffraction, energy dispersive spectroscopy (EDS), X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, Fourier transformed infrared spectroscopy and Raman spectrum. The bonding strength between the HA coating and the DLC layer modified C/C composites is examined by a tensile test. The results show that the DLC layer has a spherical morphology and provides a uniform surface for the deposition of the HA coating. The HA coating shows flaky morphology with a compact structure. The tensile strength of the HA coating on the DLC layer modified C/C composites is 6.24 ± 0.40 MPa, which is significantly higher than that of HA coating on unmodified C/C composites(3.04 ± 0.20 MPa). Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.