How to Replace the AC Accumulator

The most common reason that your car’s air conditioning is not working is a faulty accumulator. The car accumulator is the component that collects the extra moisture created when cooling and prevents it from entering the compressor. Over time, the accumulator is prone to rust problems. This can eventually cause a leak of the air conditioning refrigerant, which means you no longer have AC. Auto repair mechanics will charge you quite a bit of money to fix the problem, but it’s not a hard repair to perform. This guide will walk you through each step.



Gather Your Tools

The first step of any car repair is to gather your tools. To replace the accumulator, you will need a set of line wrenches, a socket set, torque wrench, AC line plugs, polyalkylene glycol (PAG) oil, 2 O rings, and the new accumulator.

Remove Any Remaining Refrigerant

Your car uses freon as the refrigerant. This is a gas and it can be difficult to remove. The easiest way is to take your car to a mechanic to evacuate the system. The tools needed to do this are expensive and hard to come by. There is normally only a small charge to do. It is far cheaper than having them replace the whole system.

Locate the Accumulator

Now you need to locate the accumulator. The accumulator will be a large metal cylinder. You can trace the connection from the condenser to the accumulator if you are having trouble finding it.

Remove AC Lines

After locating the cylinder, the next step is to disconnect the two AC lines. Use your socket set and remove these. It is very important that you cap the lines after you disconnect them. Use AC line plugs to do this. This will help make sure that you are not releasing any leftover freon.

Remove Accumulator

The accumulator will be fastened securely into the mount. You will need to loosen all connections to remove it. There will be a mounting bracket on the accumulator that gives it extra support. You will need to remove this from the accumulator so that you can install the new one.

Prepare New Accumulator

It is important that you lubricate the new accumulator to ensure it functions properly. Take your PAG oil and add 2 ounces to the new accumulator. You want to pour it into the two line holes.

Prepare the AC Lines

You will want to replace the O rings that are in the AC lines. You may need to remove the plug to quickly replace them. Make sure that you reinsert the plug if you remove it. You want to replace the O rings to ensure that there is a tight seal in the system.

Reinstall Accumulator

Attach the bracket mount to the new accumulator. Then, place it back in its mount. Go ahead and tighten all bolts and screws to hold it in place. You want to make sure that it is held very securely.

Reconnect AC Lines

You are ready to reconnect the AC lines. Remove the plug and then reconnect to the accumulator. Make sure that they are connected tightly and that there is a tight seal. You do not want them to leak.

Recharge Air Conditioner

The last step is to recharge the air conditioner. This is putting new freon refrigerant into the system. The easiest way is to take it to an auto mechanic to have the system recharged. This will entail a small cost and will save you from having to purchase expensive equipment. If you already have the equipment, go ahead and add the freon to your car’s AC system.
This is the procedure to replace the car accumulator, which is the most common point of failure in the AC system. It is an easy repair and should take you no more than a half hour. You can expect to have to make the replacement every four to six years. Over the lifetime of a car, it can save you a lot of money to perform the repair yourself.