Industry: Treading More Surely

During the 25,000 miles or so of its whirling life, the automobile tire bites the road in hundreds of thousands of stops, gets scraped by sidewalks and bruised by potholes, and runs long and hard at temperatures as high as 275°. Through all this, the tire is generally ignored until the day it goes flat. Now tires are getting a new kind of attention.

Prodded by the press, by state governments and by Congress, which is holding hearings on a tire-safety bill, the rubber companies are rolling out a whole batch of new...