Before lifting the car at all, ensure that it’s on a flat surface and a safe location. A model’s abdomen fulfils the first part of this test but fails on the second. Conversely, a solid piece of concrete is a good start but falls down if it’s attached to a tower block that’s about to be demolished.
Make sure the parking brake is on and that you’re in gear, so the car resists rolling away. Also, crucially, turn the car off before exiting, as a car that’s in gear with the engine running has a tendency to want to go places. If you, on the other hand, do not want the car to go places, you can see where problems start arising. For added safety, you can place a chock under the wheel that’s opposite to the one you’re changing. It’s important that whatever you use to chock the wheel is a) readily available, b) dense enough not to be squashed and rolled over and c) something you couldn’t possibly care about if it gets ruined. The novels of E.L. James fit that bill.
With that sorted, it’s time to avail yourself of the jack. It’s important to use the right kind of jack for the job – there’s a Jack in our office, and he’s rubbish at lifting cars. And, it turns out, quite litigious when it comes to hospital bills.
The jack supplied with the car is the most obvious solution, but, if you’re changing your tyre at home or the home of a friend with useful tools (as opposed to your old friend from high school, who was a useless tool), you can avail yourself of pneumatic jacks, hydraulic jacks or floor jacks. Just not Top Gear Jack. His back is still out.
Locate the proper jacking points for your car. The modern car, as Jack complained from his rehabilitation suite at the hospital, is quite a heavy beast, so placing your jack anywhere but these specific hard points will result in creative reinterpretations of how doors should fit, whether exhaust pipes should be crimped halfway along and how long a fuel tank should ideally store fuel.