Abstract The surface chemistry of NO and NO 2 on clean and oxygen-precovered Pt(1 1 0)-(1 × 2) surfaces were investigated by means of high resolution electron energy loss spectroscopy (HREELS), X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) and thermal desorption spectroscopy (TDS). At room temperature, NO molecularly adsorbs on Pt(1 1 0), forming linear NO(a) and bridged NO(a). Coverage-dependent repulsive interactions within NO(a) drive the reversible transformation between linear and bridged NO(a). Some NO(a) decomposes upon heating, producing both N 2 and N 2O. For NO adsorption on the oxygen-precovered surface, repulsive interactions exist between precovered oxygen adatoms and NO(a), resulting in more NO(a) desorbing from the surface in the form of linear NO(a). Bridged NO(a) experiences stronger repulsive interactions with precovered oxygen than linear NO(a). The desorption activation energy of bridged NO(a) from oxygen-precovered Pt(1 1 0) is lower than that from clean Pt(1 1 0), but the desorption activation energy of linear NO(a) is not affected by the precovered oxygen. NO 2 decomposes on Pt(1 1 0)-(1 × 2) surface at room temperature. The resulted NO(a) (both linear NO(a) and bridged NO(a)) and O(a) repulsively interact each other. Comparing with NO/Pt(1 1 0), more NO(a) desorbs from NO 2/Pt(1 1 0) as linear NO(a), and both linear NO(a) and bridged NO(a) exhibit lower desorption activation energies. The reaction pathways of NO(a) on Pt(1 1 0), desorption or decomposition, are affected by their repulsive interactions with coexisting oxygen adatoms.