Implementing a comprehensive maintenance program that includes regular inspections to check for proper tire pressure, tread depth and irregular wear is important for any waste haul fleet.

Gary Schroeder

Tires for waste haul are required to be tough and versatile with the ability to withstand high scrub conditions. They must withstand severe turning and impacts, as well as resist chipping and cutting in off-road driving conditions. With most waste haul vehicles having routes ranging from residential neighborhood routes where they haul each day, to drop-offs at transfer stations or landfills, having the appropriate tires is vital. Equipping trucks with tires built specifically for these challenging work environments can help avoid downtime.

Purchasing tires made specifically for waste haul is important because they offer robust construction capable of carrying a heavy load and corresponding inflation pressure, plus deep, wide treads designed to deliver tread wear life. These features tend to limit the reasonable speed for the tires, so most are rated for maximum speeds of 62 to 68 mph. As waste haul tires have become increasingly specialized, tread designs have been made wider and deeper, and the tread compounds have been tailored to perform well in high scrub operations.

Selecting the Correct Tire

In the U.S., the primary tire size for refuse trucks is 315/80R22.5, with a load rating of 10,000 pounds in order to carry the typical 20,000-pound front axle of waste haulers. This solid construction allows it to carry the heavy load common to refuse vehicles such as roll-offs, front loaders and auto-side loaders.

Selecting tires designed specifically for waste hauling is critical. Fleets should evaluate tires in the specific operation where they are expected to run. Tires should be evaluated in each type of route in order to get an overall picture of the level of performance needed. Many waste haul operations are a high scrub service involving frequent turning and braking with relatively low speeds. Waste haul tires are developed specifically to meet these conditions.

The primary benefit in using tires specifically designed for waste haul operations is that they are engineered to operate in the demanding waste haul environment. This includes tread wear life that should be significantly higher than for a typical highway or mixed service tire.


Waste haul tires are typically rib-type all-position tires, intended primarily for the steer axle. Due to the high scrub environments, waste haul tires wear out quickly, and most fleets retread the worn steer tires with a drive pattern and move them to the drive axles. Using a 315/80R22.5 with a very high load rating, rather than a larger size tire on the steer axle, enables the truck to use one size tire on all wheel positions so that a retreaded steer tire can be placed on a rear axle running on dual tires. Make sure you purchase tires that are engineered to be retread and are backed with a strong retread warranty.

Tire Maintenance

Having the proper tires for each application and an effective tire maintenance program can help keep drivers safe, avoid costly downtime and can reduce operational costs. One of the most important things you can do to extend tire life is to maintain proper inflation pressure in tires.

Maintaining proper inflation pressure in tires is the single most important factor in extending tire life. Both over and under inflation have negative effects on the tire by changing its footprint, which is the area contacting the road. Over inflation can make tires more vulnerable to cutting, punctures or damage from sudden impacts. Under inflation can cause excessive heat buildup and can potentially cause internal structural damage.

When the tire is not contacting the road as the tire design intended, the tread area will also wear irregularly and therefore more rapidly. Correct inflation pressure is determined by the load carried for each tire. In addition, tire rolling resistance, and therefore fuel economy, is also affected by inflation pressure. Low inflation pressure will increase rolling resistance and fuel consumption.

Implementing a comprehensive maintenance program that includes regular inspections to check for proper tire pressure, tread depth and irregular wear is important for any waste haul fleet. Properly maintained, serviced and inflated tires will last longer, so fleets get the most from their tires. One of the simplest things drivers can do is to inspect their tires prior to each trip to check inflation and look for damage.

Using tires designed and constructed for the challenging work environments of waste haul trucks requires careful evaluation. The time it takes is worth it because using the right tires for different applications can make a waste haul operation more efficient, reduce time lost due to breakdown and decrease the total cost of ownership of your tires.

Gary Schroeder joined Cooper Tire & Rubber Company (Findlay, OH) in August 2002, managing the startup of Cooper Tire & Rubber Company Global OEM Light Vehicle Businesses. In 2012, he was named the Director of Global Truck and Bus Business, making him responsible for all Cooper Tire & Rubber Company Global TBR Business. He oversees the Cooper and Roadmaster brands of commercial tires. Gary can be reached at For more information, visit