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Heating and Air Conditioning AC Accumulator Replacement

AC Accumulator Replacement

Replacing an AC accumulator shouldn’t break the bank – at least, not on most cars. Exactly how much the job costs depends on the year, make and model of your car.

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What is an AC Accumulator?

The air conditioning (AC) accumulator is part of your car’s air conditioning system. Hopefully, that much is obvious. But, you might be wondering: What exactly does an accumulator do?

If that question is keeping you up at night, well, you’re in luck – we’ve got an answer. The AC accumulator, which is located between the evaporator core and compressor, stores liquid refrigerant.

You see, most of the system’s refrigerant transforms from a liquid to a vapor inside the evaporator. The remainder that doesn’t make the change is stored inside the accumulator since a liquid cannot be compressed.

The accumulator has another job, as well, and that’s to remove moisture from the AC system. It’s also worth noting that not all cars have an AC accumulator – some have a device, called a receiver-drier, instead.

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Symptoms of a failing AC Accumulator

AC doesn’t work

In most cases, the only sign of a failed accumulator is an AC system that blows warm air. Yup, it's that simple.

Refrigerant leaks

If you’ve got a really good eye – or professional test equipment – you may be able to spot a refrigerant leak at the AC accumulator. In some instances, there may be either green-colored trace dye or a build-up of PAG oil near the leak. What you’re able to see depends on the severity of the leak and whether your car has dye added to its AC system.

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How urgent is an AC Accumulator replacement?

A broken AC accumulator probably won’t kill you (unless, perhaps, you’re in Arizona during the summer). But the problem can cause additional damage to other expensive components, such as the AC compressor. So, it’s a good idea to fix the problem as soon as possible.

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