Scary Photos of Recalled Harbor Freight Jack Stands Show Just How Dangerous They Are

This is all the metal that’s stopping thousands of pounds from falling on you.

byJames Gilboy|
Scary Photos of Recalled Harbor Freight Jack Stands Show Just How Dangerous They Are

Last week, Harbor Freight recalled close to half a million jack stands with suspected manufacturing defects that could pose a risk of sudden collapse. As explained in an NHTSA document announcing the recall, certain three- and six-ton Pittsburgh Automotive jack stands could allow "the ratchet teeth on the jack stand lifting extension" to "inconsistently engage the pawl to a sufficient depth." If that jargon doesn't form an image in your head, that's okay, because a Reddit user with a set of the faulty jack stands has shared some photos to help people visualize the problem.

Using a set of the three-ton jack stands implicated in the recall, Reddit user "cssplayer" brushed some white paint onto the locking pawl, which is what keeps a jack stand's toothed support in place. The person then inserted the support and stood on it for 30 seconds to guarantee as much paint transfer between the pawl and the tooth it's supposed to be supporting. Upon removal, the owner found out just how little metal stands between a jack stand user and a trip to the county coroner.

Based on how much paint rubbed from the locking pawl onto the lifting support, there looks to be less than a square centimeter of metal-on-metal contact holding up these jack stands—and therefore anything they may be supporting. For reference, cssplayer also included a photo of an older, better-built Harbor Freight jack stand, whose larger contact patch is illustrated by chipped-away paint.

Used with permission from cssplayer on Reddit

"This is absolutely horrifying. These are going to kill people that are not aware of the recall," commented the Reddit user on the disparity between jack stands. "I must have received one of the later batches, because these jack stands are really really bad. Please be careful guys. Don't use these jack stands."

The NHTSA advises owners of Pittsburgh Automotive jack stands to check the labels of their stands for the numbers 56371, 61196, or 61197, all three of which are implicated in the recall. You've heard how sketchy they can be, and now, you've seen it with your own eyes. Spread the word—you could literally save someone's life.

Got a tip? Send us a note: