Symptoms of a Bad or Failing AC Accumulator

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Modern air conditioning systems are made up of several components that work together to provide cold air for the vehicle's interior. One of those components is the accumulator, also commonly referred to as the receiver/drier. The AC accumulator is a metal canister that acts as a filter for the AC system. It is filled with desiccant, a moisture absorbing material. It's purpose is to filter out any debris that may be flowing through the AC system, and to eliminate any moisture that may be present in the system. Any foreign particles or moisture that get pumped through the system can cause damage which can lead to corrosion, which can lead to greater problems, such as leaks. This is why virtually every AC system uses an accumulator, as they protect the system from such potential problems.

When the AC accumulator begins to fail, it will usually display a few warning signs. Taking heed of these signs so that the necessary repairs can be made will go a long way in ensuring that your AC system remains clean, moisture free, and functioning properly.

1. Rattling noises during operation

One of the first warning signs that an accumulator has failed is a rattling noise when the AC is turned on. Accumulators contain chambers inside, and a rattling noise may be indicative of internal damage to the accumulator potentially due to corrosion. A rattling noise may also be indicative that a fitting or hose may have come loose or suffered damage - a more serious problem.

2. Noticeable refrigerant leaks

Another more obvious and more serious sign that an accumulator has failed is a visible refrigerant leak. When an accumulator has failed and begins to leak, it will cause pools of refrigerant to form underneath the vehicle or in the engine bay if the leak is substantial enough. If the problem is not addressed in a timely manner, the refrigerant will eventually completely leak out from the system, which will completely disable the air conditioning until recharged.

3. Moldy smell when the AC is on

Another sign that the accumulator has failed is a moldy smell will appear when the AC is turned on. If the accumulator is damaged in any way, or is no longer filtering out moisture from the system, then the resulting moisture may result in mold and mildew buildup in the AC system, which will produce a smell.

As this component is essentially the filter that protects the entire system from contamination, it is important to replace or repair the AC accumulator as soon as any problems are detected. If you suspect that you may have a problem with your AC accumulator, or perhaps with something else in the AC system, this is something that a professional technician, such as one from YourMechanic, should be able to advise you with and repair as needed.


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Oreste

13 years of experience
130 reviews
Oreste
13 years of experience
Nissan Sentra - AC is not working - Miami, Florida
Oreste is extremely knowledgeable and professional. He fixed my car quickly and knew exactly what I was asking about and made me felt confident I was getting excellent service. He is a pleasure to work with and I highly recommend him!
Mini Cooper - AC is not working - Miami, Florida
Excellent mechanic , he know all abou the Minicooper engines , he fixed the fail and check all , he did a great job

Joe

42 years of experience
715 reviews
Joe
42 years of experience
BMW 740i - AC is not working - Saint Petersburg, Florida
Great guy. Knows his stuff and easy to work with. Very friendly and helpful. Knows BMW and that’s important to me. Highly recommend.
Honda Odyssey - AC is not working - Tampa, Florida
As expected - Joe was great. Insightful, helpful and explained everything. Will book again without hesitation.

Brian

22 years of experience
269 reviews
Brian
22 years of experience
Honda Odyssey - AC is not working - Jacksonville, Florida
Very knowledgeable and courteous. He was able to quickly diagnose the problem and tell us how to fix it! Thanks Brian!!
Nissan Rogue - AC is not working - Jacksonville, Florida
Amazing service!!! Brian was timely, professional, informative, and this service is just SO convenient. This was my 2nd time booking with Brian via Yourmechanic.com and it wont be my last!!

Benji

21 years of experience
85 reviews
Benji
21 years of experience
Jeep Grand Cherokee - AC is not working - Paradise Valley, Arizona
Benji was beyond professional and handled our issue with speed. Super efficient and went above and beyond!
Land Rover Range Rover - AC is not working - Scottsdale, Arizona
Very knowledgeable! On time, kind, Courteous. Definitely a master technician. Identified the issue Immediately and resolved quickly! A pleasure to work with.

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