A/C Accumulator/Receiver-Drier and Issues


What is an accumulator/receiver-drier and why is it important?

An A/C system deals with liquids and gases and their temperature modulation to provide you with cold air in summer and hot air in winter season. But it is not just a complex system, it is also a very sensitive system. There is a reason why A/C system on a car is a sealed unit. It is sensitive to moisture and humidity. If moisture enters the system and reaches the compressor, it can mix with the refrigerant liquid and cause corrosion to spread throughout the A/C system.

However, the A/C system has a safeguard from moisture and humidity in the form of an accumulator/receiver-drier. An accumulator/receiver-drier is a component that draws out the moisture from the system and blocks it from reaching the compressor for which it also has a desiccant (the small pouch you see when you open a box of Orbit or any electronic gadget that should not be exposed to moisture). This component also traps pollutants inside the A/C system through a filter. Lastly, this component also stores oil and refrigerant till further use.

There are a few differences between accumulator and receiver-drier. The first is that an accumulator comes with an orifice tube whereas the receiver-drier has an expansion valve accompanying it. An accumulator is also bigger than a receiver-drier in size and hence, volume too. An accumulator is placed in the low-pressure section of an A/C system while the receiver-drier is placed in a high-pressure section. Unlike a receiver-drier which holds refrigerant temporarily, an accumulator’s primary purpose is to store the liquid refrigerant coming out of the evaporator and preventing it from entering the compressor.

Now that we know the differences between the two, let us find out how to know if there is anything wrong with either component.

What are the symptoms of a failing accumulator/receiver-drier?

Usually it is a safe practice to replace the accumulator/receiver-drier anytime the A/C system is opened. However, they are not completely fool-proof systems and can become faulty due to clogging. This clogging may be caused by debris inside the system or by the rupturing of the desiccant inside the system. In such a case, the resulting debris may also clog other system components.

Look out for these too

Unfortunately, there is nothing you can do in case the accumulator/receiver-drier fails. Everything has to be handled by qualified technicians.


Since there is nothing you can do to rectify the issue, we at CarDekho would like to help you. We can get you in touch with people qualified to handle this job. All you have to do is log on to services.cardekho.com.