5 symptoms of a bad A/C receiver drier

What’s so important about a receiver drier?

A receiver drier is a tin-like capsule with an inlet and outlet, usually found in air conditioning systems with an expansion valve. It’s easy to dismiss something so small as inconsequential, but the receiver drier is actually a crucial part of the system.

The general function of the component is to help absorb moisture in the air conditioning system, among a few other responsibilities. First and foremost, it prevents a build up of moisture which can lead to other parts malfunctioning and complete failure.

For you, that means a pretty hefty repair bill. We don’t want you to have to suffer the cost and downtime, so here we’ll be outlining signs and symptoms for you to look out for and everything you need to know about this special little component.

Natrad has a cost-effective compressor kit that is perfect for replacement and repairs on a receiver drier. Backed by a 3-year warranty and professional installation, Natrad’s got you covered for all repairs to your car’s cooling systems.

Bad A/C receiver drier symptoms

Given how critical the receiver drier is to your air conditioning system, it’s important to know how to pick up on any problems that arise throughout the life of your car. The consequences can be pretty dire if you miss these telltale signs, and depending on the severity of the problem, you’ll probably end up replacing more than just the receiver drier.

So what are some of the signs of a faulty receiver drier?

  • Unusual noises
  • Leakage
  • Bad odour
  • Ineffective cooling
  • Cloudy sight glass

Some of these might sound pretty vague — we’ll get into that later — but first, we want you to get informed about the true function of the receiver drier, and what it does for your car.

How does the receiver drier work?

To make it really simple, we’ve made a diagram to illustrate where it sits in the engine bay and the flow of refrigerant. This is the most common configuration, although there are others depending on the vehicle.

receiver drier diagram

Now that you know where the receiver drier is, what does it do? As we mentioned earlier, the receiver drier removes moisture from the A/C system to avoid clogging, build up and corrosion.

However, it also does a couple of other things. The receiver drier stores overflow refrigerant during times of low demand as well as filtering debris and particles from entering the system — a true triple threat.

A functioning receiver drier ensures proper lubrication of the system, avoids corrosion and build up that may clog or damage the system and filters contaminants from making a mess of other A/C components. What’s not to love?

A failed component could lead to circuit clogs, abnormal system pressures, lack of performance and of course other damage or failure to other parts of your car’s cooling system.

5 signs and symptoms of receiver drier failure

Back to the tell-tale signs of a A/C failure. Like we mentioned before, this is what you’re going to want to watch out for:

  1. Leakage is far more likely in a valve based system. It’s rare in the drier itself but a puddle underneath your car could signal a bigger issue. Leakage can result in, overheating, corrosion and insufficient lubrication.
  2. Abnormal noises due to incorrect installation, internal damage or loose or damaged fittings.
  3. Ineffective cabin cooling, thanks to clogging, contamination or full blown failure. Not enough refrigerant due to leakage is also likely to affect this.
  4. Nasty smell, likely due to mildew, mould or contaminated desiccant which will need to be replaced.
  5. A cloudy sight glass, which might be a little difficult to see. Due to contaminated desiccant resulting in altered pressure, the outlet fitting will become abnormally cold and look cloudy.

So what next?

A receiver drier is rarely replaced on its own due to warranty regulations, so often you will find yourself replacing the compressor too. If damage is very severe, possibly the condenser or evaporator as well.

Not sure what the best solution is for you? Get in touch with the friendly team at Natrad. We have the expertise to fix your system, and get your car back to being cool.

Natrad stores around Australia have highly trained technicians in A/C and cooling system repairs and maintenance. If you need specialist advice on receiver driers, Nip into your nearest workshop to talk options.