Wheres the catch? Low-cost tools that are backed up with a Lifetime Warranty? Here is my experience with returning broken tools at Harbor Freight.
“Quality Tools at Ridiculously Low Prices”
That pretty much sums up the company in one sentence. And, by and large that is what they are able to deliver on.
However, nothing lasts forever. So what happens when a tool with a “Lifetime Warranty” breaks? Do they get you with – the fine print– or do they stand behind the products they sell?
This page will be dedicated to a running list of every tool that has failed me and my experience with the return process. Hopefully this list doesn’t get too long (knock-on-wood).
Harbor Freight – Hand Tool Lifetime Warranty
Per their Website:
“We guarantee our Hand Tools to be free from defects in material and workmanship for the life of the product. Limitations apply.
Harbor Freight Tools will replace any hand tool that fails to properly work during the lifetime of the original purchaser.
In the event an identical item is not available as a replacement: Harbor Freight Tools reserves the right to substitute a substantially similar item in its place. This warranty gives you specific legal rights and you may have other rights that vary from state to state.” Website Warranty Information Link
Keep in mind, this does not apply to ALL tools across ALL brands.
From my experience all hand-tools under the Pittsburgh brand should carry this Lifetime Warranty. Be sure to check all the details on the packaging regarding warranty information.
**As pointed out by a comment below. Keep any eye out for Pittsburgh tools that only carry a 90-day warranty. Many of which are under the Pittsburgh Automotive line.**
Now onto the list.
Pittsburgh – 1lb Neon Orange Dead Blow Hammer (warranty replacement)
The first tool that has failed me from Harbor Freight.
A rubber dead blow hammer is great to remove rotors because there is no metal on metal contact. They are also great for woodworking, used to tap in joints without marring your work surface.
Having purchased this hammer about 3 years ago and using it for a variety of different tasks. It finally failed.
This has been my goto hammer when needing to “influence” brake rotors loose. If you live anywhere where road salt is used in the winters, you know the pain.
On this specific project, the rotor wasn’t budging…
After about a dozen or so heavy hits, the head eventually cracked right across the top of the hammer. Unfortunately, I was upset the hammer was toasted and did not take a picture.
Returning the Hammer to Harbor Freight
As mentioned above, this was the FIRST time i have ever had an item fail, so I wasn’t really sure what to expect with their warranty process.
When I reached the checkout, I handed the cashier the hammer and showed them where it was cracked.
“Ok, go over and grab another one” they said.
No, receipt, No phone number needed. Just walked over to the hammer section, grabbed a new one and brought it back up to the register.
They printed out some-kind of warranty receipt and I was on my way. Easy.
Pittsburgh 1lb Dead Blow Hammer (return) Overall Experience
Much easier than I expected. Typically when a product has a warranty you need to jump through a bunch of hoops (register the product, contact the mfg out of state, save your receipt, etc).
However, at Harbor Freight I was pleasantly surprised on how quick and easy everything went.
Pittsburgh Automotive Jack Stands (recall issue)
The next issue on the list is a Product Safety Recall issued on a few models of Pittsburgh Automotive jack stands.
“For certain units of the Pittsburgh Automotive 3-Ton and 6-Ton Heavy Duty Steel Jack Stands there is a potential, while under load, for the stand to drop suddenly. This condition could cause serious injury for people near or under a lifted vehicle, and/or damage to property” see complete recall information here
As an owner of a few of these jack stands, this is very concerning news to hear.
It is one thing to have a tool fail or break, it is another thing to have a jack stand fail.
A large car or truck falling from these stands would cause serious damage. Heaven forbid being under the vehicle at the time as it would most likely result in death.
Jack Stand Recall (2021 Update)
I returned the jack stands back to Harbor Freight and received a full refund on a Harbor Freight gift card.
Since then, I have purchased the new Daytona 3-ton jack stands that feature welded-in reinforcement brackets and an extra security pin for additional safety. So far, so good.
Harbor Freight Warranty Issues, conclusion
I plan on keeping this page current with any other tool failures I run into. Next time around I will try and remember to take photos to show exactly what happened.
If you ever had to return a tool let us know in the comments below. Let us know what tool it was and what happened, we would love to hear your story.