The air conditioning system fitted to your car has many individual components and is designed to last as long as possible with a set amount of service. Sometimes, parts of the system can break down due to unusual circumstances, and this could lead to a lack of refrigeration, a leak or a complete failure. Certainly, the evaporator and the compressor are the two key parts involved in conditioning the air, but other lesser-known components can also play tricks. Indeed, the receiver/drier may occasionally fail and can also cause problems elsewhere. So, what do you need to know about this component?
Locating the Component
Air conditioning systems have high-pressure feed sections, and this is where you would normally find the receiver/drier. It can be attached to the condenser or placed between the expansion valve and the condenser outflow. Its purpose is to act as a temporary storage facility when the system is not in use, and it also has a special filter designed to trap any debris that may be circulating through the A/C system.
Fundamentally, though, this component helps to remove unwanted moisture. It'll trap droplets of water circulating throughout the system before they cause corrosion and failure elsewhere.
Absorbing the Moisture
To capture the water, engineers use desiccants. You may be familiar with this product as you will often find a tiny sachet filled with crystals that have been placed in the box when you buy a new electronic product. This desiccant is meant to absorb any moisture that may have been trapped in that box when it was sealed.
In this case, there is a large bag of desiccant within the drier, which will trap any humidity within the system very effectively.
Excess Debris and Disintegrating Desiccant
If there are any problems elsewhere, the receiver/drier could be the first component to give up the ghost. When there is debris in the refrigerant or lubricant, this may build up within the filter, and it could cause the drier to stop working. Occasionally, the desiccant will break free from its enclosure and may disintegrate into miniature but abrasive particles. These will then flow out of the drier and could cause major problems elsewhere.
Service and Repair
Whenever you take your vehicle in for a service, the technician will have a close look at the receiver/drier and replace the filter and desiccant. If it's been some time since you scheduled service, you may encounter issues with this part and should get it looked at as soon as possible.
Make an appointment with an auto air conditioning repair professional if your A/C isn't working.