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Last month, Harbor Freight issued a recall for 1.7 million Pittsburgh-branded three-ton and six-ton jacks stands over a manufacturing flaw. Due to worn stamping machinery, the jack stand’s ratchet teeth might not be deep enough to hold the lifting extension in place when the supported car shifts its weight. The stands at issue were assembled between December 1, 2012 and March 31, 2020, but Harbor Freight believes potentially defective units are only 5% of the total run. To be safe, the company decided to recall all of the stands, and has issued gift cards for comparable stands. A man named Mike Galli received one of the replacement stands, and reportedly, things didn’t go well.

Galli posted photos online that were picked up by the 1320videos Facebook page, showing a stand that had split down the weld connecting two legs. When contacted by The Drive, he told the outlet that the fracture happened as soon has he lowered a car on the stand for its first use. “Not too sure how a three-ton jack stand can’t handle the weight of a Volkswagen Golf,” he said. “It was the first time using them as well after having swapped the previous recalled ones out.” The rupture looks similar to this jack stand tested by a hydraulic press.

It’s important to note a few things here. Among the 1,000-plus comments on the 1320videos page with Galli’s photo, plenty of home mechanics attest to using Harbor Freight jack stands for years or decades with no problems — the recall, after all, covers nearly two million stands. A stand rated for three tons should support 3,000 pounds — stands are sold in pairs, each half contributing to the rated total — so shouldn’t have had any problem with one corner or even side of Golf, a hatchback that weighs a little over 3,000 pounds in total. But we don’t know how the incident happened, nor how much weight was on the jack.  

Galli wasn’t hurt, thankfully. A Harbor Freight statement to The Drive said in part, “We take these matters very seriously and have already reached out to the customer to gather more information so that we may investigate this issue in depth.”

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