A/C Accumulator / Receiver-Drier

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A/C Accumulator / Receiver-Drier


What is the A/C Accumulator / Receiver-Drier and where is it located?

The A/C accumulator and A/C receiver-drier are two different parts that serve similar purposes in different A/C systems. They are metal cylinders responsible for removing moisture and debris from the A/C system and, without them, your a/c compressor would likely fail. The accumulator and receiver-drier also store excess liquid in the A/C system so it can function properly.

Although they look similar, the A/C accumulator is larger in size than the receiver-drier. It can be found on vehicles with an orifice tube system, usually between the evaporator and the compressor on the low pressure side. These systems have refrigerant in a liquid state more often than expansion valve systems, and it’s the accumulator’s job to convert liquid refrigerant from the evaporator into vapor for the compressor.

The A/C receiver-drier is smaller in size than the accumulator. It can be found on vehicles with an expansion valve system, usually between the expansion valve and condenser on the high pressure side. Like the accumulator, the receiver-driver separates the liquid refrigerant from the vapor.

How do I know the A/C Accumulator / Receiver-Drier needs to be replaced?

Since both the A/C accumulator and receiver-drier have a desiccant to absorb moisture and usually a filter to absorb debris, if air flow from the vents is weak or the A/C system is struggling to work, it is likely there is excessive moisture in the system from a saturated desiccant. When this happens, the compressor will eventually fail, and the parts will need to be replaced together. A failed compressor is usually a sign the accumulator or receiver-drier has failed too.

If the system is opened during service, the accumulator or receiver-drier will also need to be replaced due to excess moisture or debris entering the system during this time frame. It is also common to replace the accumulator or receiver/drier when replacing the compressor.

Can I replace the A/C Accumulator / Receiver-Drier myself?

The A/C accumulator or A/C receiver-drier can be replaced by the average do-it yourselfer. The hard part is removing the refrigerant. To be eco-friendly, it’s recommended to have the refrigerant evacuated by a professional rather than releasing toxins into the atmosphere. The following steps will typically entail disconnecting the lines and connector from the accumulator / receiver-drier, measuring and adding the right amount of oil to the new compressor, replacing the o-rings, and having a professional recharge the system.


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