While these instructions are general preventive maintenance procedures for refuse trailers, be sure to follow your specific refuse trailer manufacturer’s operation manual for specific preventive maintenance instructions.
By Charlie Benton

It is important to perform preventive maintenance inspections to ensure safe operation of the trailer. Every trailer owner and/or operator should have an organized trailer preventive maintenance program. DOT requires that maintenance records be kept on every commercial highway vehicle.

CAUTION: Maintenance must be performed only by trained and qualified mechanics following these instructions and those specified in the component manufacturer’s instruction manuals.

East Refuse Trailer filtered glad hands preventscontamination in the air lines. Check the filters regularly.


Weekly Inspection
The operator’s weekly preventive maintenance procedure includes the following:
1. Body
• Inspect for any damage.
• Verify that all lights function, are in place, and are not obscured.
• Check the electrical system for chafed wires, missing clips, and positive grounding.

2. Tailgate
• Verify that the tailgate latches open and close properly.
• Check the tailgate lock adjustments. The tailgate latches should be clamped firmly, and the small end of each locking cam must snap into position against the cam stop block. If needed, adjust the tailgate locks according to the instructions.
• Check the tailgate for alignment and for complete closure to avoid any material leakage.
• Inspect the tailgate sealing faces for excessive wear.
• Grease the tailgate latches, the coal door linkage, and the top corner hinges. Use the grease fittings provided.

Note: Lubrication of the over slung hinges should be performed from inside the trailer body.

3. Live Floor Hydraulics
• Check the oil level in the hydraulic tank. Add fresh, filtered hydraulic oil, as needed. See your trailer dealer for recommended hydraulic oils.
• Check for chafed hoses or cracked fittings.
• Inspect all high-pressure hydraulic lines for leakage.
• Inspect the live floor cylinders for oil leakage.
Note: Oil leakage from the hydraulic cylinder will be more noticeable when unloading a fully loaded trailer.

4. Chassis
• Inspect the chassis for visible damage.
• Check the fifth wheel kingpin for cracks and unusual or excessive wear. Grease the fifth wheel.
• Inspect the landing gear mounting plates and the bracing for cracks. Tighten any loose fasteners.
• Grease the landing gear according to the original equipment manufacturer’s instructions.

5. Suspension
• Visually inspect all suspension springs for broken leaf springs and equal arch.
• Be sure the springs are positioned within the hangers and equalizers.
• Visually inspect all air springs and airlines for chafing or leaks.
• Inspect shocks for leaks or damage.

6. Brakes
• Check the brake valves for leaks and ensure proper operation.
• Check for and remove any foreign material from within the dust shields.
• Check all air lines and hoses for chafing.
• Remove dirt and other foreign material from the brake drums.
• Drain condensation from trailer air reservoirs.

7. Wheels and Tires
• Check the tire pressures. Inflate the tires according to the tire manufacturer’s specifications.
• Check that wheel lugs are tight.
• Check the oil level in the wheel hubs to ensure proper wheel bearing lubrication. Add oil as needed.
• Inspect seals/hubcaps for leaks.


East tailgate with integrated light panel is completely sealed. Photos courtesy of East Manufacturing.


Refuse trailer landing gear mounting plates and bracing should be inspected for cracks and loose fasteners.

Monthly Inspection
For monthly inspection, perform the following in addition to those required for weekly preventive maintenance inspection.

1. General Inspection
• Check all welds for cracks.
• Check fifth wheel plate for corrosion between plate and main rail.
• Check fifth wheel plate and kingpin fasteners for tightness.

2. Suspension
• Inspect the suspension bushings for excessive wear and freedom of movement.
• Check that suspension hanger bolts are tight. If below required torque of 225 ft.-lb., retorque. If below 225 ft.-lb. more than once, replace bolts.

3. Wheels, Rims, and Tires
• Check and adjust the endplay of the wheel bearings according to the applicable instructions.

The procedures in the weekly and monthly preventive maintenance inspections provide a general description of the proper procedures to all configurations of East refuse trailers. It is important to thoroughly read and understand the instructions that apply to your refuse trailer configuration. | WA

Charlie Benton is Product Manager, Refuse Trailers, for East Manufacturing Corp., a leading manufacturer of a full line of aluminum flatbed, drop deck, dump and refuse trailers, steel dump trailers, and aluminum dump bodies for the commercial vehicle, construction, agricultural, and refuse markets. Headquartered in Randolph, OH, East has provided innovative standard and custom trailer products that deliver superior performance, strength and flexibility for more than 50 years through its network of more than 90 trailer dealer locations. For more information, visit EastMfg.com.