The effects of Zn content on strength and wear performance of Al-12Si-3Cu alloy synthesized by gravity casting were systematically investigated. The microstructure and mechanical properties of the alloys were evaluated using OM, XRD, SEM as well as hardness, tension, compression and Charpy impact tests. Their dry sliding wear tests were carried out with a ball-on-disk tester. Microscopic examinations revealed that the microstructure of the base alloy consisted of the alpha(Al) dendrites, needle-type and coarse Si particles, and CuAl2 (theta) phase. The addition of Zn to this alloy resulted in the formation of alpha-solid solution phase and the increase of coarse Si particles. The hardness, yield, tensile and compressive strengths, elongation to fracture and impact toughness of the Al-12Si-3Cu-Zn alloys increased with increasing Zn content, but tendency in the tensile and compressive strengths and ductility reversed after adding 1.5%-2% Zn. In addition, the friction coefficient and volume loss of the Al-12Si-3Cu-Zn alloys decreased with increasing Zn content. The study showed that the addition of Zn to Al-12Si-3Cu alloy can improve its potential applications as tribological material.