As with most other utility/industrial vehicles in the Grand Theft Auto series, the Trashmaster has no functional purpose, with the exception of GTA Liberty City Stories; it has a side mission entitled Trash Dash, where the player must drive a Trashmaster around the city, picking up garbage in a Taxi mission style way. It is one of the slowest and least maneuverable vehicles in the series, and in GTA III, it has the lowest point value when destroyed, 10. Despite its shortfalls, the Trashmaster tends to be one of the heaviest and hardest trucks available in the game. The Trashmaster in GTA San Andreas is notably faster and features a different Engine compared to the other GTA III era games.
The Trashmaster is commonly found driving in the industrial sections of each city. The Trashmaster in GTA IV only spawns in the early hours of the morning; it also has a functioning back door, although it can only be operated during the mission Taking in the Trash, where Niko Bellic must drive to waypoints, picking up diamond-filled trash bags along the way. As the vehicle is quite large, it's top speed is only 99 mph.
Throughout the games, its appearance has remained mostly the same, with the exception of the front cab, which switches around from flat cab-over design to a conventional cab in-between the games.
In GTA III and GTA Liberty City Stories, the Trashmaster resembles a Mack MR. In GTA Vice City, GTA San Andreas, and GTA Vice City Stories it has a cab similar to the Yankee, but the grille is slightly altered, GTA San Andreas's version also has different headlights, added turning signals, bears Sanitary Andreas logos.
The GTA IV rendition is the most realistic yet, with LSD workers hanging on the back, as well as various other details. It closely resembles a DSNY (Department of Sanitation New York) Mack LE Refuse Collection Truck but the front is slightly altered.
- A GTA III style Trashmaster appears in Rockstar North's Manhunt 2.
- The GTA Liberty City Stories rendition of the truck is unusual in that its door will not be closed when the player exits the truck on a flat surface; the player must disembarked onto a surface more elevated than that where the truck is in order to close the door. This peculiarity is also seen on other vehicles with high driver compartments, such as the Dumper in GTA San Andreas.
- The Trashmaster plays the following radio stations by default when entered:
- In GTA IV, the Trashmaster's compacter can be operated by pressing the sprint button. This comes into play during the mission Taking in the Trash; the men Niko is working with will only throw the bags into the truck when the rear lid is open. However, it can not be opened after or before the mission and will only stop the truck.
- In GTA IV, the Trashmaster is usually scheduled to roam Liberty City picking up trash on Tuesdays & Fridays.
- It is not possible to carry four people using the Trashmaster in GTA IV, even though the Trashmaster can be seen with two LSD workers on the back.
- GTA III
- Occasionally spawns in Aspatria, Staunton Island.
- Rarely spawns in Portland and on the Callahan Bridge.
- GTA Vice City
- GTA San Andreas
- Can be seen driving around near airports and docks throughout the state.
- GTA Liberty City Stories
- Parked in the Harwood junk yard, also spawns within the Harwood district.
- Parked in the Carson General Hospital car park on Staunton Island.
- Parked in the Francis International Airport car park in Shoreside Vale.
- GTA Vice City Stories
- Parked in the junkyard in Little Haiti
- Obtainable through Cheat Codes
- Commonly spawns around Viceport at night.
- GTA IV
- Found parked in the trash department's main base under an overpass in Fishmarket South, near Pier 45.
- Plenty spawn parked in a depot by Pier 45.
- Many spawn around Liberty city at night.
- Grand Theft Auto V