When you hear or feel that one of your vehicle's tires is going flat, it's imperative that you pull over as soon as possible and ideally in an area in which you'll be able to safely change the tire. Staying safe while changing a tire is about more than putting on your four-way flashers to make sure that you're visible to other motorists; you must also take care to ensure that the scissor jack from your trunk is set up properly. Failing to do so could result in the vehicle toppling over and sustaining damage or even falling onto you and causing a serious injury. Here are some safety tips for using your scissor jack.
Position the Car on Level Ground
You want to be sure to stop your vehicle on level ground before you even think about changing the tire. If you attempt to use a scissor jack on a slanted road or parking lot, there's an extremely high risk of the jack snapping over to one side and the vehicle falling off. Even if the ground is flat, you should make sure that the jack isn't positioned in any divots in the ground. One simple way to tell that the jack is set in the proper position is to ensure that the scissor mechanism is vertical as you begin to lift the car. If this mechanism is even slightly diagonal, you could be in danger.
Be Careful Not to Move the Car
When you've successfully jacked up the appropriate corner of the vehicle, it's important to know that the vehicle is in a precarious position. Any movement of the vehicle could potentially cause it to fall off the scissor jack, so take care to avoid touching the vehicle. For example, don't lean against the car door to take a quick break during the job. Additionally, if you have any family members in the car when your tire goes flat, make sure that they exit the vehicle when you're changing the tire; their movements inside the car could pose a threat to it staying on the jack.
Work as Quickly as Possible
Even with the correct techniques, a car is in a potentially precarious state when it's on a scissor jack and the tire is removed. You should always work as quickly as possible to change the tire, and this is especially true if you're on the side of the road. It's a good idea to have the spare tire ready at your side before you jack up the car, rather than jack it up and then go about pulling the spare out of your trunk.
For more information about tires and tire maintenance, consult a professional such as Jones Automotive.