The Harbor Freight axle stand saga has taken another unfortunate turn. Having recalled 1.7 million Pittsburgh-branded stands earlier this year, the retailer came under the spotlight once more when one customer reported a weld failure on a replacement unit a few weeks ago. This appears to have prompted another recall, covering any stands with the part number 56373.
“I’m disappointed and embarrassed because we’ve identified a welding defect in a small number of the Pittsburgh three-ton steel jack stands that replaced the recalled jack stands,” company owner and founder Eric Smidt said in a letter posted on Facebook.
You’d be forgiven for being worried if you own any set of Pittsburgh stands, but the good news is Harbor Freight will give a cash refund or a store credit for three and six-tonne units whether they’re covered by the recalls or not.
To refresh your memory, the first of the original recalls concerned three-tonne units manufactured from December 2012 to December 2019 with the part number 61196 and any made from January to March 2020 with the number 56371. The second covered six-tonne stands built from June 2013 and November 2013 with the part number 61197.
Rather than for faulty welds, these recalls were due to a defect in the ‘pawl’, which could “disengage from the extension lifting post” if subjected to a “potential shift in weight”. This would cause the supported vehicle to drop suddenly, potentially causing serious injury or worse.
The problem was traced back to ageing tooling at the factory of Jiaxing Golden Roc Tools Co in Zhejiang, China. Only recent batches were thought to have the issue, but a wider recall was issued by the NHTSA as a precaution.
As we said in the previous two Harbor Freight axle stand stories, all of this should serve as a reminder that it’s important to have some kind of redundancy when supporting a car on axle stands.