Renal fibrosis is the final common pathway of all chronic kidney diseases progressing to end-stage renal diseases. Autophagy, a highly conserved lysosomal degradation pathway, plays important roles in maintaining cellular homeostasis in all major types of kidney cells including renal tubular cells as well as podocytes, mesangial cells and endothelial cells in glomeruli. Autophagy dysfunction is implicated in the pathogenesis of various renal pathologies. Here, we analyze the pathological role and regulation of autophagy in renal fibrosis and related kidney diseases in both glomeruli and tubulointerstitial compartments. Further research is expected to gain significant mechanistic insights and discover pathway-specific and kidney-selective therapies targeting autophagy to prevent renal fibrosis and related kidney diseases.