By now, EVERYONE who cares a bit about cars knows the Harbor Freight JACK-STAND recall. I’ve seen probably 50 memes in each Facebook group I’m on. Harbor Freight is offering a store value gift card, OR a replacement with an updated model.
The Recall comes from a failure of the center post not having large enough “Teeth”, allowing the jack to ratchet-down unexpectedly… obviously a huge issue, and quite dangerous… but not the catastrophic “break in half and explode” that many are expecting. However, shortly after Harbor Freight started swapping for “updated” models a curious photo of a split stand surfaced.
*See bottom of post for updated photos of the split stand
Below is the recall graphic. There is one important distinction that has been missed by many: The recall only includes 3 specific models, noted by a number on the sticker. Of my three sets of 3 ton stands, only one set was recalled. I brought back the affected set and took a replacement.
A short while after the Recall, a mysterious photo of a split jack stand popped up on the internet and spread like WILDFIRE. The posts and memes are exploding again. The mysterious photo was credited to someone named Mike G, who was kind enough to respond to my messages on Instagram. Mike replied that the split occurred as soon as he lowered his VW Golf down onto the stands, on a smooth, flat concrete garage floor. I’ll take Mike for his word (I was skeptical until he sent me more pics). I am happy that no injury or property damage occurred, but I believe one failure is far from a whole new round of failures and recalls.
I am very curious to hear the opinion of any engineering/welding experts who can take a look at the failed unit, which seems to have broken by the weld separating from the metal on one side. Mike was able to share some more posts of the Stand, scroll down to see for yourself:
Below is a photo of a YouTube
advertisement for a jack company video where the presenter explains his opinion of how poorly these stands are made. He then goes on a sales pitch for another brand (Including a prominently displayed coupon code in the description).
The video claims that “This harbor freight jack stand is also failing” then explains why he believes the Jack Stand is built incorrectly. There are certainly design and construction methods on the Harbor Freight Jack Stand that compromise overall strength for easy, cheap production. But at what load does the design become an actual issue? Will these fail at 3.1 tons, 6 tons, 10 tons, 20 tons? I looked through my older stands, and the construction “Issues” claimed in this video are present on all my stands (Including my 10 year old stands). I am all for supporting good, American companies who create high quality products… however, I don’t think it’s fair or reasonable to exaggerate dangers as a sales pitch.
I’m interested to see how this all plays out. Will we see more failures? Was this failure forced? In the meantime I will continue to use my Harbor Freight Jack Stands, Both my new post-recall set and my old, pre-recall sets. I will also continue to give any vehicle a “shake test” before crawling underneath. Remember to always follow best practices when raising a vehicle, Stay safe out there!
In the meantime I will continue to use my Harbor Freight Jack Stands
I’ll leave you with this:
Here are some more photos of the broke stand: What do you think?