High-temperature thermal-mechanical systems are considered as an indispensable solution to modern vehicle emission control. Such systems include advanced engines, manifolds, thermal regeneration systems, and many other systems. Creep, fatigue, oxidation, or their combinations are the fundamental underlying material degradation and failure mechanisms in these systems subjected to combined thermal and mechanical loadings. Therefore, the basic understanding and modeling of these mechanisms are crucial in engineering designs.In this paper, the state-of-the-art methods of damage/failure modeling and life assessment for components under thermal-fatigue loading, are reviewed first. Subsequently, a new general life assessment procedure is developed for components subjected to variable amplitude thermal- and mechanical- loadings, with an emphasis on hold-time effect and cycle counting. Finally, an example is given to demonstrate the hold-time effect on the durability of the V-shape specimens subjected to thermal cycling, and another is provided to illustrate a new cycle counting procedure suitable for loading data with temperature variation.