PSA: Harbor Freight Can't Bear the Weight?

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

Earlier this year, media outlets, us included, put out a warning about Harbor Freight jack stands that could collapse under the weight of vehicles they’re designed to suspend with ease. The company issued an urgent recall (see above) for two popular models, claiming that owners could exchange the stands at their point of purchase for a new set.

One Harbor Freight customer did just that, only to have a new 3-ton stand meet its match in the form of a Volkswagen Golf.

That story comes by way of The Drive, which contacted Mike Galli after he posted photos to’s Facebook page. A vertical weld on the base of one of the stands split apart as soon as the Golf’s not-so-hefty bulk was lowered onto it, Galli claims.

“Not too sure how a three-ton jack stand can’t handle the weight of a Volkswagen Golf,” he told The Drive “It was the first time using them as well after having swapped the previous recalled ones out.”

Given the loud noise emitted when the stand split, Galli noticed the problem immediately and the drama ended there. He’s not aware of anyone else having this problem. Indeed, neither is Harbor Freight, a once-reputable name in the world of jack stands, among many other items made for the do-it-yourselfer.

The earlier recall concerned 3- and 6-ton jack stands (item numbers 56371, 61196, and 6119) built from 2012 and 2013 onwards, respectively, and sold under the Pittsburgh name. Harbor Freight said the problem concerned “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.”

That’s not what happened with this replacement stand, begging the question — how widespread is this particular issue?

Harbor Freight claims it has contacted Galli for info and plans to investigate the issue “in depth.”

In the meantime, you might want to think twice about using Harbor Freight’s jacks, even if they’re brand new replacements for the recalled lot. The always helpful Bozi has some suggestions:

On the inexpensive end of the price range, I've actually been fairly impressed with the house brand jack stands at Auto Zone and NAPA. They usually run around $65 to $70 per set for the 4 ton versions and are fairly well built.

— Bozi Tatarevic (@hoonable) June 12, 2020

[Image: Harbor Freight]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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4 of 20 comments
  • DenverMike DenverMike on Jun 13, 2020

    There's no guarantees with anything. Always give the vehicle a hard shove, before getting under.

  • Schurkey Schurkey on Jun 14, 2020

    Consumers buy bottom-feeder Communist Crap from a retailer infamous for selling bottom-feeder Communist Crap, and they're surprised when they wind up with faulty dreck. One word: "Duh". NOBODY sources from Communist China to improve quality. They go to China to improve profit margins; and they don't give a damn about anything else until the threat of legal action grabs their attention. The Commies are perfectly capable of building decent product...but that cuts into the lucrative profit margin that Chinese junk--powered by lack of ethics--is so famous for. 'Course, there's plenty of guilt from the Communist Collaborators in this and other countries. Without corrupt Big Business, and treasonous Politicians, this would never have been a problem. China has killed ~100,000 of us in this country alone, damaged the world's economy, and they're not done yet. What's a few more DIYs crushed by faulty safety equipment to them? The blood on their hands is thick 'n' heavy.

  • Mike Some Evs are hitting their 3 year lease residual values in 6 months.
  • Tassos Jong-iL I am just here for the beer! (did I say it right?)
  • El scotto Tim, to be tactful I think a great many of us would like a transcript of TTAC's podcast. 90 minutes is just too long for most of us to listen. -evil El Scotto kicking in- The blog at best provides amusement, 90 minutes is just too much. Way too much.
  • TooManyCars VoGhost; I was referring more to the Canadian context, but the same graft is occurring in the US of A and Europe. Political affiliation appears to be irrelevant.
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