Experiments and computer simulations have revealed some unusual results of EHL associated with a high degree of thermally induced inhomogeneous shear across the lubricant film, or thermal shear localization. The results include the development of a sizable film dimple in the central EHL region and a dramatic reduction in EHL traction. A theoretical analysis is carried out to determine the conditions under which the thermal shear localization may develop in EHL films. A dimensionless parameter S, derived from key physical parameters of an EHL contact, is identified that may be used to determine the degree of the thermal shear localization across the EHL film. When the value of S is ∼ 5, the cross-film thermal shear localization is usually developed in the EHL contact. When it is ∼ 10, the localization is likely to be severe. An immediate result of a severe shear localization is a large reduction of the EHL traction among other unusual EHL responses. This is an abstract presented at the World Tribology Congress III (Washington, DC 9/12-16/2005).