This paper aims to characterize the surface damage as a consequence of fretting fatigue in aluminum alloy 7075-T6 plates in double-lap bolted joints through XRD, surface profilometry, and SEM analyses. The main focus was on the surface roughness and chemical phase composition of the damaged zone along with the identification of fretting fatigue crack initiations over the surface of the material. The surface roughness of the fretted zone was found to increase when the joint was clamped with a higher tightening torque and tested under the same cyclic loading. Additionally, MgZn2 (η/η) precipitates and ZnO phase were found to form onto the surface of uncoated aluminum plate in the fretted and worn zones. The formation of the ZnO phase was understood to be a result of frictional heat induced between the surface of contacting uncoated Al 7075-T6 plates during cyclic loading and exposure to the air. The beneficial role of electroless nickel-phosphorous (Ni-P) coatings in minimizing the fretting damage and thus improving the fretting fatigue life of the aluminum plates was also studied. The results showed that the surface roughness decreased by approximately 40% after applying Ni-P coatings to the Al 7075-T6 plates.