The government yesterday announced it would investigate the safety of some Uniroyal steel-belted radial tires. Separately, Volkswagen announced a recall of 1975-1978 Rabbits and Sciroccos because of a possible starting defect.

The National Highway Safety Administration said the Uniroyal probe will focus on tires made in 1975 and 1976. It will include all sizes in Uniroyal's PR5 line and larger size tires - those with JR and LR designations - in the PR6 line.

The company reports receiving 538 complaints last year, alleging blowouts or other potentially hazardous failures on those tires.In addition, the safety agency said the failure of Uniroyal tires may have been responsible for at least 30 accidents involving 10 injuries and one death.

The governmetn said it could not estimate how many tires would be covered by the investigation. Most of the tires were sold as original equipment on new General Motors vehicles, while others were installed on new Ford vehicles or sold as replacement tires.

In another action, Volkswagen announced a recall of 450,000 Rabbits and Sciroccos made in 1975-78 because of a defect that could cause the cars to start themselves and begin moving.

The car company reported the problem is due to improper scaling of a hole in the fender apron in cars that were equipped with radios not installed by the factory. If water is splashed into the hole, it can tickle down to a fuse relay board, activate the starter and possibly move the car if it's in gear. Volkswagen explained.

The problem is corrected by selling all antenna cable holes.