Effects of addition of Zn (up to 1 wt%) on microstructure, precipitate structure and intergranular corrosion (IGC) in an Al–Mg–Si alloys were investigated. During ageing at 185 °C, the alloys showed modest increases in hardness as function of Zn content, corresponding to increased number densities of needle-shaped precipitates in the Al–Mg–Si alloy system. No precipitates of the Al–Zn–Mg alloy system were found. Using high-angle annular dark-field scanning transmission electron microscopy (HAADF-STEM), the Zn atoms were incorporated in the precipitate structures at different atomic sites with various atomic column occupancies. Zn atoms segregated along grain boundaries, forming continuous film. It correlates to high IGC susceptibility when Zn concentration is ~1wt% and the materials in peak-aged condition.