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Harbor Freight Jack Stands Recalled

Recall: Harbor Freight Jack Stands

At the end of May 2020, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) issued an advisory press release announcing that Harbor Freight Tools was recalling over 1.5 million Pittsburgh three-ton and six-ton jack stands.  The jack stands were found to have a risk of collapsing under normal use, which could lead to serious personal injury or death to a user under a lifted vehicle. 

Which Harbor Freight Jack Stands are Defective?

The item numbers can be located on the label attached to the base of the stand. The numbers for the defective stands are 61196, 61197, and 56371.  There were two separate recalls for the jack stands. The first involved approximately 450,000 units manufactured between June 2013 and November 2019. The second recall included approximately 1,250,000 jack stands that were manufactured between December 2012 and March 2020.

What do I do if I Have A Defective Harbor Freight Jack Stand?

If you have possession of a Harbor Freight jack stand labeled 61196, 61197, or 56371, discontinue using it immediately.  Harbor Freight is offering full refunds upon request.

Another Recall: Replacement Jack Stands

As of July 2020, Harbor Freight is now recalling certain other three-ton jack stands that some customers bought to replace the previously recalled jack stands.  The units covered under the new recall have inadequate welds that are prone to failure, which was also the issue with the first two recalls.  Contact Harbor Freight for information on the additional recalls.

Here is a YouTube video about the recalled jack stands:

Working Safely Under Your Car

The recall of Harbor Freight jack stands conjures terrifying images of what could happen to a person working under his or her car if the jack were to fail.  It is a good time to take stock of the equipment and procedures you are using to lift your vehicle.

Lying underneath a lifted vehicle is inherently dangerous.  As with any activity, if it is done enough times, one can become cavalier and forget to properly inspect the equipment used to hold the vehicle in place.  Below are some tips to read over to ensure that you are thinking critically about the equipment and procedures used when lifting your vehicle.  These are general guidelines and do not include all the information you need to safely work beneath a vehicle.

Read the Manual

Always carefully review the manuals provided for both your vehicle and the jacks you are using.  Do this prior to lifting the vehicle.  If you have any questions or concerns, do not get under the vehicle.

Double Check the Weight Rating

Each vehicle lift requires a jack and at least two jack stands. Always make sure that the equipment is rated for the weight of your vehicle.  Jack stands are intended to be employed as pairs, so will have a shared weight rating.  Your vehicle’s manual should include its curb weight – round that number up, not down.  For example, if your car weighs 5,600 pounds, go for three-ton (or more) jack stands rather than two-ton.  

Is a Jack Stand the Best Choice?

There are safer devices than a jack stand to consider, such as a hydraulic scissor jack, or quality vehicle ramps.  Vehicle ramps are safe, sturdy, and less expensive than a hydraulic piece of equipment.  Provided the project does not require removal of the wheels, vehicle ramps may be the best option for raising a vehicle by two or four wheels.

Raise the Vehicle from a Hard, Flat, and Level Surface

A concrete garage floor is the best option as a surface from which to lift a vehicle.  Though that is not always possible, such as during a tire change on the road.  In all instances do your best to level the vehicle, and ensure the jack stands are set on hard surfaces since a soft surface can cause shifting of the jack, which could result in a vehicle drop.

Know your Lift and Jack Stand Points

The areas from where you lift the vehicle, and where you secure the jack stands will vary from vehicle to vehicle.  Again, consult the owner’s manual.  

Think Ahead – Escape 

Think ahead to what would happen if your jack stand were to fail or shift.  How would you protect yourself or get out from beneath the vehicle?  A third jack stand or a tire placed strategically under the vehicle could help protect you if the jack were to fail.  It is also a good idea to let someone know you will be working under a vehicle and to have your phone within arm’s reach.  

Trust Your Instinct

If you have uncertainty about your equipment, do not risk it by getting under the vehicle.  Make sure you have the correct equipment and it is all in working order.  Or, take your vehicle to a professional mechanic.

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Roseville Personal Injury Lawyer

I’m Ed Smith, a personal injury lawyer in Roseville, California. For nearly four decades I have worked on behalf of injured Roseville residents.  If you or a loved one suffered personal injuries caused by someone else’s negligence, reach out to my firm for compassionate, free, and friendly advice at  (916) 921-6400 or (800) 404-5400.

Client reviews and past case results are available here:

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