The terrifying Harbor Freight recall of jack stands that would fail on account of a producing defect is within the information proper now, and it’s pretty much as good a time as any to assessment the procedures and gear we’re all utilizing to raise our automobiles. However first, let’s check out the problems going through these explicit Harbor Freight jack stands so you have got an concept of why that is all so troubling.
Harbor Freight’s recall covers some 3-ton and 6-ton “Pittsburgh” model jack stands with merchandise numbers 56371, 61196, and 61197. (View the PDF of the recall document here for more details.) These are pawl-type jack stands, with a pawl that engages with enamel on the lifting arm of the jack stand. A design flaw attributable to previous tooling within the manufacturing facility that constructed them may trigger the pawl to disengage, letting the jack (and the car on high of it) out of the blue and unexpectedly drop.
That is dramatically illustrated by a couple of photographs from a Reddit consumer, who shared it with us anonymously and we’re reprinting right here with permission. They utilized some paint to the pawl of a unit in query and let it switch onto the enamel of the jack stand, which provides a way of precisely how little the pawl is meshing with the enamel. See the mark on the pawl under:
There’s solely a sliver of paint transferred onto the tooth, a graphic illustration of how little holding energy this explicit set of recalled jack stands can muster. You may see the mark, under:
With out understanding concerning the recall, this kind of defect can be extremely arduous (if not unattainable) for a consumer to note—till the car got here crashing down, with doubtlessly tragic penalties. For reference, the identical consumer took a photograph of an older Harbor Freight jack stand that is not concerned within the recall, utilizing the identical method. The bigger paint mark means the pawl grabbed much more of the tooth. See under:
You probably have jack stands from Harbor Freight, please take a minute earlier than studying on to see in the event that they’re affected by the recall. It may save your life.
Working beneath a lifted automotive is inherently extraordinarily harmful, and it is simple to be cavalier or place an excessive amount of belief in gear which may not deserve it. Our information under is meant not as a how-to, since each automotive and truck is completely different, however moderately as a top level view of some greatest practices that can get you considering critically about your strategies.
As all the time, rigorously learn the guide—on your car, on your ground jack, and on your jack stands—earlier than beginning. And if in case you have any issues about your scenario, or gear, do not get underneath the car.
Test the Weight Ranking
Earlier than beginning, ensure you’ve obtained the correct gear for the job. You will want a jack and no less than two jack stands to work underneath your car. First, guarantee they’re rated on your car’s weight. Relying on when it was manufactured and the particular mannequin, jack stands may be weight rated individually or as a pair. Test your particular jack stands’ guide or label to verify the load score to just be sure you’ve really obtained the correct gear to assist your car.
Additionally do not forget that jack stands are meant for use in pairs, which partially explains the shared weight score. It is not really useful to make use of just one jack stand to assist a portion of the car, nor to make use of two units to assist each ends of the car on the similar time (though elevating each ends and supporting them with jack stands is widespread, in observe). Consult with the proprietor’s guide should you’re not sure.
What weight score must you select? Decide your car’s curb weight (it is usually within the proprietor’s guide) and choose jack stands with an analogous score. Spherical up moderately than down. In case your car weighs 5,500 kilos, select 3-ton jack stands (or extra) moderately than 2-ton. Likewise, be certain your lifting gadget is as much as the job. Lastly, test the lifting dimensions—will the jack raise sufficient to get the jack stands beneath? Are the jack stands lengthy sufficient to adequately raise the car?
Ought to You Use a Jack Stand at All?
If it’s worthwhile to raise each ends of the car, there are different units, such because the QuickJack hydraulic scissor jack (proven above), which are a safer (albeit costlier) resolution. High quality car ramps are additionally a protected, sturdy, and cheaper various for elevating two or 4 wheels off the bottom for sure repairs, and so they’re quick and handy when used correctly. In lots of circumstances, these may be safer and faster alternate options to the ground jack and jack stand methodology, offered you are not engaged on tasks that require the wheels to come back off.
Test the Situation of Your Jack Stands and Flooring Jack
No matter what you may be lifting or supporting the car with, test the situation of all of them. Be sure the jack is secure and in good working order. Study your jack stands—whether or not the pawl, pin, or screw sort. If any of this gear is bent, broken, or seems questionable, do not use it. Attempt to use high-quality gear from a good producer.
We do not suggest utilizing the jack that got here together with your car, normally a scissor or bottle jack, for normal upkeep. They’re emergency gadgets for infrequent use, like altering a tire on the facet of the street.
Jack From a Flat, Exhausting, Degree Floor
Each time potential, a flat, arduous, degree surface-like a concrete storage ground—is by far the very best floor to raise a car from. This is not all the time potential, particularly for a tire change. Do what you may to degree the car, and make sure the jack stands relaxation on a tough floor. A delicate floor may trigger the jack stands to shift, doubtlessly dropping the car.
There are merchandise referred to as jack stabilizer pads that can be utilized to assist a jack or jack stand. A sturdy piece of wooden can be utilized in a pinch. However the most suitable choice is a tough, degree floor.
Earlier than You Raise, Use Chocks
Chocks are easy wedge-like units that stop the car from rolling. Place two behind the wheels of the top you aren’t lifting up. In a pinch, a sturdy block of wooden or a brick can be utilized, offered you guarantee it is sufficient to forestall the car from rolling. Be sure to set the parking brake, and put the car in “park” or in gear to assist guarantee it will not roll as you raise up one finish. But additionally do not forget that the parking brake usually solely works on the rear axle. Make utilizing chocks a behavior regardless of which finish you are lifting.
Find Your Raise Factors and Your Jack Stand Factors
The place you raise from, and the place you place your jack stands underneath the car, goes to fluctuate relying on the car in query. Seek the advice of the proprietor’s guide to find out learn how to raise. Many automobiles have sturdy raise factors meant for this goal—however be certain the form and elegance of the lifting level is an efficient match on your jack and jack stands. Some automobiles may be lifted by the axle or differential, however this might additionally harm different automobiles. Do not make assumptions; seek the advice of the guide. If the jack factors are broken or you may’t find one, do not raise the car and seek the advice of your supplier or trusted mechanic.
Be sure that wherever you jack from, there’s satisfactory clearance to the jack stand assist level to get the jack stand in and squared up beneath that time.
Begin with the jack stands on a decrease setting. You may all the time elevate them extra later. Be sure they’re set to the identical peak on either side. Solely elevate the car as a lot as it’s worthwhile to do the job safely—extra peak means extra potential instability.
Make sure the Jack Stands are Vertical and Safe
As soon as the car is chocked, the jack is situated safely, and the car is lifted, it is time to place the jack stands on the indicated factors. Make sure the jack stands are vertical and never resting on any particles. Be sure nobody is underneath the car, and it will not contact something coming down. Place the jack stands and regulate the peak as near the assist level as potential. Slowly launch the jack to settle the car onto the jack stands.
Because the car settles, be certain the jack stands keep vertical and make good contact with the jack factors. Watch rigorously, as a result of the car could come down at a slight angle, and you might have to maneuver the jack stands barely earlier than the car rests on them so they’re lined up correctly. As soon as down, and earlier than getting beneath, double test the car’s stability. It should not rock and the jack stands should not shift. If it does not really feel strong and safe, double-check your setup and maybe jack the automotive again as much as reset the whole lot.
Create an Escape Path, and Presumably a Again-Up Help
Earlier than getting beneath, take into consideration what may occur if a jack stand (or the jacking level) fails or shifts, dropping the car. How are you going to guard your self, and the way are you going to get out from underneath the car? It is not a nasty concept to put a 3rd jack stand, the ground jack, or perhaps a tire beneath in a handy spot to assist defend you if the worst occurs. Be sure this back-up gadget does not inhibit your potential to out from underneath the car rapidly.
It is also not a nasty concept to let somebody know you may be underneath the automotive, or have a telephone helpful. We have heard of tragic situations the place an individual, pinned by a car, would have survived if assist got here in time.
It does not take lengthy to make sure you’ve obtained an escape path, or a lot extra gear to present create a back-up assist, so there isn’t any cause why you may’t incorporate these potential live-savers into your common car lifting routine.
When in Doubt, Get Out
Getting unhealthy vibes? Get out, or higher but, do not get underneath within the first place. Your life is not value taking a shortcut or utilizing questionable gear. Cease and ensure you’ve obtained the correct instruments for the job, and you know the way to make use of them correctly—or take the job to knowledgeable.
Working in your automotive or truck your self is rewarding, enjoyable, and also can prevent some huge cash, so use protected lifting strategies, widespread sense—and have enjoyable.