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Harbor Freight announced a recall of its “Pittsburgh” brand six-ton jack stands due to the risk of collapse during use, according to a filing last month with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. A second recall filed on May 3, 2020 extended the recall to three-ton Pittsburgh-brand jack stands.

According to Harbor Freight’s NHTSA filing, the problem with the jack stands is that due to worn tooling at the factory, the pawl that engages with the toothed height-adjustable part of the stand does not do so sufficiently to reliably lock it in place. A sudden jolt or shift in weight could cause the pawl to disengage, dropping the vehicle suddenly and crushing whoever is beneath it. With nearly 2 million units in question, the odds are high that you or someone you know owns one of these.

Jack stands are commonly used to hold a vehicle up and in place, allowing work to be done underneath. If the jack is not able to withhold the weight of the vehicle and malfunctions, the person underneath it is at risk of serious injury or death.

At this point, two different models have been recalled by Harbor Freight. The recalled models include 3-ton and 6-ton “Pittsburgh” brand jack stands with item numbers 56371, 61196, and 61197. The stands are pawl-type jack stands, which means they operate via a pawl or ratchet that engages with teeth on the jack stand’s lifting arm.

For the 3-ton jack stands, the model number can be found at the top of the stand on the label. The model number for the 6-ton jack stand is located on the yellow part of the label near the stand’s base.

A Reddit user posted a video online of his own experience regarding issues with the jack stand and showed just how easily the product can malfunction. Using white paint on the stand’s locking pawl, the part of the stand that keeps the toothed support where it needs to be, the user showed how little metal holds these jack stands up while the vehicle is being supported by painting the parts of where the pawl supported the stand. When compared to other jack stands of similar size and purpose sold by other companies, the disparity between the two is hard to miss.

If you or someone you know owns a jack stand made by Harbor Freight, it is imperative that you confirm whether the model is under recall and if so, discontinue use immediately. If the owner of the jack stand discovers the defect firsthand and through use, the damage will likely be catastrophic.

Be careful.  Be safe.  Contact the manufacturer or the place where the jack was purchased and seek a refund. Make sure you save anything you have related to the defective jack including, the actual jack, all component parts, the owner manuals, receipts, other proofs of purchase, or any other item.   If someone is injured by the jack save all items as you never know what might be important down the road should you need to pursue a legal case to get redress for the harm.

The attorneys at Wooten Kimbrough Damaso & Dennis, P.A. represent victims who have been seriously injured by defective and dangerous products, including tire, automobile, and aircrafts, pharmaceutical and medical products, firearms, and machinery. If you have questions on this recent recall or have suffered harm by a defective product, such as the Harbor Freight Pittsburgh Automotive jack stand, contact our law firm today for a free case evaluation.

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