After stopping at a stop sign, I barely give the car gas and the tires spin. It seems to happen only when it's on a wet surface. If I don't let off the gas the front end starts to shake and goes to the right (the road was lower on the right hand side so not sure if it always pulls to right).
My car has 116000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.
It is normal for the front wheels to spin in slick conditions. There are a few things that can contribute to this occurring more easily though. Tires with low tread would be the biggest contributor to such a problem. The federal minimum for tire tread depth is 3/32 seconds. When the tread reaches 4/32 seconds, there will be a significant decrease in traction under slick conditions. This does depend on the type of tire as some do better in slick conditions than others. You can purchase a tread depth gauge at any parts store. They are very cheap.
Your front end is stepping sideways because of the action of the differential. The engineering of why this occurs is complicated, but rest assured, it is normal. Your car would most likely go to the right even if the road was going upwards to your right. The shaking would be normal under these circumstances as well.
Aside from tire issues, if the car accelerates normally under all other conditions, there is not much else that would create this problem, other than it is necessary to adjust your throttle control technique during slick conditions. This is a normal part of driving in slick conditions.
If you are still concerned, or would like someone to take a look at your tires and give your car a quick test drive, I recommend the following inspection. Tire inspection Be sure to send the technician a note with the exact details about your concern. The title of this inspection may not directly address your issue, but the skill set of the technician is covered under this inspection.
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