The AC receiver dryer is a disposable component, in much the same way as an air filter or an oil filter is disposable. It serves to filter the air conditioning system from anything that is not condensable. The oil in the refrigerant holds moisture and allows debris to remain in the system. Also, when moisture combines with refrigerant, hydrochloric acid is formed, and this can be very damaging to AC components.
The receiver dryer contains desiccant pellets that absorb moisture. Once they have absorbed a great deal of moisture, they will no longer serve their purpose, and the receiver dryer will need to be replaced.
Unless you use the air conditioner in your vehicle a great deal, the receiver dryer will last a long time – about three years. At that point, the desiccant pellets will have deteriorated to the point that they will actually break down, clog up the expansion valve, and possibly even damage the compressor. Signs that your AC receiver dryer needs to be replaced are:
- Significant variance in the passenger compartment temperature
- Unusual sounds when running your air conditioner
Any time your air conditioning system is serviced, the receiver dryer should be replaced. Otherwise, you could end up with costly repairs. If you suspect that your AC receiver dryer has stopped functioning as it should, you should have it checked out. An experienced mechanic can analyze your AC system to identify any problems, and if necessary, replace the AC receiver dryer.