How to Quiet Noisy Trash Bin Plastic Wheels to Roll Better Over Driveway, Gravel or Snow

Here's how you can modify your noisy garbage can wheels and allow them to roll over gravel driveways better.
by Updated July 22, 2022

So if you're like me, your large (95 or 96 Gallon) rolling trash bin has cheap thin plastic wheels that can wake up the neighborhood when rolling down a driveway. I have a long gravel driveway that goes up a slight hill, which makes rolling a heavy trash container up or down the driveway a very loud and bouncy chore that can sometimes become even harder with a few inches of snow on the ground. So I decided it was time to remove my trash recepticals hard plastic wheels and hollow metal axle that would bounce around when rolling over an uneven driveway. 

The Garbage can in this "how-to" is an Eco Cart 96 Gallon Garbage Can provided by Waste Management with 10" wheels (although it has the option to attach 12" wheels). Luckily the plastic wheels / axle are easily removed from this trash bin, by simply pinching two tabs on the inside of the wheel, and then pulling the wheel off. But I've seen other garbage can manufacturers make it extremely difficult to remove the wheels, and depending on your trash bin, the wheels may need to be drilled into to release a pin, which then allows you to remove the wheels. 

With that said, here's how to upgrade your trash can's wheels and axle in about 30 minutes, so that it is way less noisy so you won't wake up your neighbors and much smoother rolling over rocks and gravel driveways.

Here's what you may need depending on your Trash Bin size / wheels:

Here's the steps to Modifying Noisy and Hard Plastic Trash Bin Wheels

1) Empty your trash container, then flip it on its side so the wheels are sticking up. Remove the wheels / axle.

2) Use a tape measure to determine the height / diameter wheel size you need by measuring the plastic wheels you removed from your rolling trash bin. In my case, the wheels were 10" tall / diameter.

3) Now determine the diameter of the holes in the garbage bin where the axle went through / sat on. In my case, the holes for the axle to sit on were 1" in diameter.

4) Note, I went with 10" Pneumatic Tires / Wheels that have a tube inside so they can be aired up or down. If you don't want to worry about airing up tires, you may want to go with a Solid Polyurethane Flat-Free Tire (just keep in mind these tires may be louder / harder).

5) So in my case, I slid 3/4" flexible tubing over the top of the 5/8" axle rod in order to cut down on the axle rod bouncing around. I then slide the tubing / axle rod, inside of the 3/4" Inner Diameter PVC pipe. 

6) The 3/4" PVC pipe has an outer diameter (OD) of 1.050 inch, which is slightly bigger than the 1" axle holes on my Trash Bin, so I used a Rotor Tool to shave off just enough plastic for the PVC pipe to slide snuggly through all four holes in the Trash bin to secure the PVC pipe / axle. 

7) Now I slid the PVC pipe through all four holes, with the 5/8" axle rod and 3/4" flexible tubing inside the PVC pipe. By doing this, there is virtually no bouncing around of the axle rod within the PVC, and the PVC pipe does not bounce around on the 4 plastic axle holes on the Trash bin.  If I had just used 5/8" axle rod by itself, the rod would bounce and make noise in the 1" plastic holes of the Trash bin.

8) It's now time to determine to correct size in length to cut the PVC pipe and 5/8" steel axle rod.  I did this by first lining up the PVC pipe and flexible tubing on one side, then pushing out the 5/8" axle rod, and then putting on one 3/4" washer, then 1 tire, then one 3/4" washer, then attaching one 5/8" Shaft Fixing RingNote: I would get a split 5/8" shaft rings that has 2 screws. I made the mistake of buying 5/8" shaft rings that were a full circle w/ one screw for tightening, which didn't fit onto the 5/8" axle rod, even though the Inner Diameter of the rings was 5/8". Also if you don't use PVC pipe, you might need or want 6 shaft rings to keep the wheels and axle in place correctly, so they don't move side to side.  In my case, I only used 2 shaft rings, and just decided to duct tape the PVC pipe to the trash bin, so there's no side to side movement of the axle / wheels (although over time it's likely the duct tape will loosen up).

9) Using a hack saw, I cut the PVC pipe so that the tires had at least 1/2" to 3/4" of clearance on the side of the trash container, so the wheels would not rub the sides. In my case, I think I  cut the PVC pipe down to around 19" inches in length.  NOTE: The Flexible tubing was also cut to the same length as the PVC pipe.

10) I then used the hack saw to cut the 5/8" steel rod down to roughly 26", so now on the opposite side of the axle rod, I can attach 1 washer, 1 tire, 1 washer, and 5/8" shaft ring on the end. So essentially the rod was cut to about 26" in length, so when both wheels are on the the axle max width with the tires is 26" inches.  You may want to use a metal file, to de-burr the side edge of the steel rod that you cut so that it is smooth, and no sharp edges will catch on clothing.

11) Now just attach the 2 wheels, 4 washers (1 on each side of the wheel), and 2 shaft rings (1 on each end of the wheel) to hold the wheels on the axle.

12) Once everything is attached, line up the wheels so the have clearance on the side of the trash bin, as not to rub on the side. Then use Duct tape (or a more permanent glue or even screw into the PVC) to hold the PVC pipe in the middle so it does not move around from side to side.

13) That's it!...  Hopefully, your rolling trash bin is a lot more quiet and easier to roll over loose rocks and gravel driveways.

Overall, it's a super easy project, which wil take anywhere from 30 mins to 1 hour to complete. The "hardest" part is dremeling out the plastic on the Trash bin, so that the PVC pipe will fit tightly inside the 4 plastic axle holders on the trash bin, and this would take much longer if you were to use a rounded metal file, rather than a rotor tool. Lastly, I just slightly enlarged the hole sizes that the axle sits on, so I can always put on the old wheels and axle back on the trash bin, and it would function the same (in case you are worried about your Trash company charging you for a modification to their trash recepticle).

Lastly, to really quiet things down, you may want to put some foam weatherstripping around the top of Garbage can lid so when you're rolling it over bumpy driveways the lid does not rattle around.

 


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