PSA: Check Those Jack Stands

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
psa check those jack stands

If your vehicle spends any time — or will spend any time — suspended on jack stands bought from Harbor Freight, heed this warning: those stands might not suspend anything.

The company has issued recalls on its 3-ton and 6-ton jack stands, sold under the Pittsburgh name, out of fear they could collapse suddenly.

Carrying item numbers 56371, 61196, and 61197, the seen-everywhere jack stands first showed up in National Highway Traffic Safety Administration documentation back in March (6-ton) and earlier in May (3-ton). The affected products go back way further, however.

The beefier of the two stands under recall was produced from 2013 to 2019, while the 3-ton model saw production for the past eight years, starting in 2012. The units affected number into the millions.

“For certain units of the Pittsburgh Automotive 3 Ton and 6 Ton Heavy Duty Steel Jack Stands there is a potential, while under load and with a shift in weight, for the pawl to disengage from the extension lifting post, allowing the stand to drop suddenly,” Harbor Freight said in its warning. “This condition could cause serious injury for people near or under a lifted vehicle, and/or damage to property.”

It might be worth taking a trip to the garage and looking at those item numbers. Pass word along to your friends, too. If your jacks prove suspect, Harbor Freight will accept their return at any of its (opened) local stores. You’ll be handed a gift card that’s equivalent to the original purchase price.

[Image: Harbor Freight]

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  • Jerome10 Jerome10 on May 20, 2020

    I’ve got Sears Craftsman ones that look nearly identical. It’s probably time I just got rid of those too. So the question becomes... what brands are well made in Germany or Japan or USA or Canada etc? Will add that I also either double up the jack stands (not quite touching but if one fails it falls on the backup) and also keep the floor jack under the jack point and just barely touching. Again, if stand falls car rests on jack at least long enough to get out from under the car and change my underpants.

    • Milkman Milkman on May 20, 2020

      USJack are made in the US of US materials ($180 shipped for 6 ton stands). Hein Werner are assembled in the US of global materials, but they are owned by Shinn Fu of Taiwan (100 shipped for 6 ton stands. Can't vouch for quality of either as I just ordered the USJacks.

  • -Nate -Nate on May 20, 2020

    Oh, crap . I wonder where I got my ratcheting jack stands, I keep them out in the weather so they have little paint left and zero part # decals.... -Nate

  • Polka King Polka King on May 21, 2020

    I was always scared of those kinds of stands.

  • Schurkey Schurkey on May 21, 2020

    Anyone buying from Hazard Fraught deserves what they get. It's well-known that they sell bottom-feeder junk. "Tool-Shaped Objects" (i.e., not actual tools, but they look like tools) IS THEIR SPECIALTY. Expecting "not junk" is unreasonable.

    • See 1 previous
    • Schurkey Schurkey on May 27, 2020

      @gtem "How much wrenching do you do?" Everything from oil changes to engine and trans overhauls. Plus fixing crap around the house. 10 years in the auto-repair industry, 13 years assembling City Buses, primarily in the Engine and the Rear Axle departments. (Now retired.) "Have you ever seen or used any of their tools up close?" I know a guy that buys their junk. I've seen some of it. It's garbage. I bought an air-ratchet from them thirty years ago. So gutless I could stop the socket from turning with my hand. If the tool says "Made In China" on it, that's all I need to know. Tool-Shaped Objects (Looks like a tool, but isn't) are epidemic; much like their Made-In-Wuhan virus. Similar results, too: People die. Continuing to trade with Communist China is insane. We never should have started. OUR politicians and businesses have built their military and funded their evil.