Three case studies are presented which show how the finite element method can be used along with a general purpose bearing analysis program to better predict bearing stress and performance. The first case is a spherical roller thrust bearing where the objective was to determine the effect of shoulder diameter on the grind relief stress. In the second case a four point angular contact ball bearing was analysed to determine the effect of a circular cut-out section on the bearing stress and life. The third case is the study of the effects of housing clearance on the life of a cylindrical roller bearing. In all three cases, distortions calculated by the finite element program were input into the bearing analysis program to determine the effect of structural deformations on the stress and life of a bearing. A number of iterations between the finite element program and the bearing analysis program were required in order to reach convergence on roller loads. These case studies demonstrate the use of the finite element method complementing the use of general purpose bearing programs to predict the actual performance of bearings.