External oxidation during in-line heat treatment of TRIP steels can cause problems for the subsequent coating process. This research aims to elucidate the kinetic rates of internal oxidation, external oxidation and decarburization and their interdependence under different gas atmospheres and temperatures. A rolled steel sample chemistry of 0.14 wt.% C, 1.8 wt% Mn, 0.6 wt.% Si and 1 wt.% Al is used as a case study. Thermogravimetric techniques are used to examine the net mass change in a sample during heat treatment and the results show an initial mass decrease and later an increase for particular partial pressures of H2O. SEM-EDS, optical microscopy and glancing-angle x-ray are used to quantify the microstructure. The cross-section of the samples have 4 distinct zones: (i) an external scale, rich in fayalite, (ii) an internally oxidized region with Al, Si and Mn oxides in an Fe matrix, (iii) a decarburized steel region, characterized by large ferrite grains and low carbon content, and (iv) a relatively unaffected steel core with a structure similar to the starting material.