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I recently bought a 2002 Mitsubishi Lancer and everything seems to ride fine, except when I get around 60-70 mph on the highway the steering wheel starts to shake noticeably.

This is only noticeable when I'm accelerating though. When I let off the gas and coast, it's fine.

I took it to a shop and after looking at it they said I just needed to balance the wheels, they didn't have the equipment to do it so I wasn't able to get it done today, but that brings up my question: if they're right and all I need is a balance, why does it only happen when I'm accelerating? Should I get a second opinion?

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Getting the wheels balanced won't hurt. They are the typical culprit of a shaking steering wheel. Many tire places will even balance them for free. It would also be worthwhile to jack up the front of your car and check to see if you have any play in your control arms or in the tie rods, or if the boots are badly worn. I had a problem with a shaking steering wheel that went away after replacing the inner and outer tie rod ends.

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Tire balance is a good place to start. Also, the U-joints may need to be lubricated or replaced. Slide underneath the car and check for loose driveline components. Usually a vibration upon acceleration indicates a driveline issue.

If it's a FWD lancer, you may need to check or replace the differential fluid, and visually inspect the front driveshafts.

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