The surface fatigue failures of the traction drive rollers are different to that of gears and bearings because of the high traction force, skew and small slip ratio. In this research, fatigue tests of traction rollers were performed in different slip ratios and skew angles. The effects of running conditions on the fatigue lives of traction drive rollers are clarified and explained based on the surface crack growth and wear situations. Although a higher slip ratio will make a lower fatigue life, the fatigue strength will increase inversley under the skew conditions, because of the differences in mechanical and tribological condition for surface crack growth and the severe surface wear, which diminishes the surface crack length. For evaluation of the effects of such as slip ratio and skew on the fatigue strength of traction rollers, a new method is put forward in which the relationship between the surface temperature index and fatigue life is used instead of S-N curve.