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AC Accumulator Replacement Cost Estimate

Worried you might overpay for your AC accumulator replacement? Use Jerry's GarageGuard to get fair cost estimate for your AC accumulator replacement.
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John Davis
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Reviewed by Kathleen Flear, Director of Content
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Edited by Jessica Barrett, Senior Car & Insurance Editor

How much does it cost to replace an AC accumulator?

The average cost for an AC accumulator replacement is $336. That price breaks down into $104 for replacement parts and $231 for labor costs. But you should remember that those are averages and your actual cost will be based on your car and location.
How long does it take to replace an AC accumulator? The exact replacement time will vary from car to car. On average, a trained mechanic should take between one and two hours to complete the service.
Here’s a breakdown of AC accumulator replacement costs for different vehicles:
Estimate DateCustomerCarFair Cost EstimateParts CostLabor CostLabor Time
May 23, 2024
Buick Encore
$444
$108
$336
2.8 Hours
May 22, 2024
Nissan Frontier
$423
$108
$315
2.8 Hours
May 20, 2024
Oldsmobile Bravada
$500
$108
$391
2.8 Hours
May 17, 2024
Lexus RC
$442
$108
$334
2.8 Hours
May 13, 2024
Dodge Ram
$430
$108
$322
2.8 Hours
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How did we estimate these prices?

Jerry's experts researched and collected data from 2500+ real repair shops in all 50 states in the US, including everything from the total cost of repair services to the hourly labor cost for mechanic labor in each shop. We combined that data with our expert database of hundreds of real repair jobs, thousands of real cars, millions of real car part prices in order to best estimate the cost of each repair service. Our labor cost estimate is calculated by taking the average hourly labor rate for a certified mechanic in the US, times the number of hours it takes on average to complete a repair. We recommend you compare your local shops with Jerry and contact those shops directly to get final pricing for your vehicle.

What parts do I need for my AC accumulator replacement, and how much do those parts cost?

You should consult your vehicle’s repair guide or owner’s manual for detailed information about the AC system. Here’s a basic overview of the parts you may need
  • AC accumulator: The primary part you’ll replace is the AC accumulator. Prices can vary, but you should be able to pick up a new one for between $20 and $150.
  • O-rings: You may need to replace the accumulator’s o-rings if they’re broken or brittle. New ones can cost $5 to $20.
  • AC refrigerant: You may need to recharge the AC system with refrigerant after your AC accumulator replacement. Cans of refrigerant can cost between $20 and $50.
You can buy AC accumulator parts for your car from auto parts stores like AutoZone, NAPA Auto Parts, and Advance Auto Parts, as well as online retailers such as Amazon and RockAuto.
Three brands we recommend for a new AC accumulator are UAC (Universal Air Conditioner), Four Seasons, and ACDelco. For replacement O-rings, we recommend brands like Fel-Pro, Victor Reinz, and Mahle. And, when it comes to AC refrigerant, we recommend InterDynamics, A/C Pro, or FJC. Keep in mind that the best options for your suspension lubrication parts will vary depending on your’s year, make, and model.
Generally, you should opt for original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts for automotive repairs—especially if you drive a newer car. 
OEM parts are manufactured specifically to fit your vehicle. They come with a strong warranty and are made of high-quality materials. The downside to OEM parts is that they can be expensive and difficult to find.
Aftermarket parts, on the other hand, are usually cheaper and easier to find. They may be of lower quality but premium options are available. You can save money and lower your repair cost by buying an aftermarket part—just remember to check the part number to confirm it will fit your car.
For OEM parts, you’ll have to contact your local dealership or an authorized parts supplier. Aftermarket parts are available from various auto parts stores—like AutoZone, NAPA Auto Parts or Advance Auto Parts—and online retailers like RockAuto and Amazon.

Where can I get my AC accumulator replaced?

If you don’t already have a go-to auto repair shop, it can be hard to find the right one. Luckily, you can use Jerry's
GarageGuard™
to compare hourly rates and repair estimates from thousands of shops across the U.S.
Jerry's GarageGuard™ uses real hourly rates from local shops to generate fair price estimates. Use it to discover diagnostic charges, budget for future maintenance, and find shops near you with the highest reviews.
Check out some of our vetted shops below and download the app to search for quality repair services in your area.
190 Reviews
Goodyear Auto Service - Stevens Creek
address
3146 Stevens Creek Blvd, San Jose, CA
AC Accumulator Replacement Cost
Fair Cost Estimate for This Shop
$279
(Parts - $56, Labor - $223)
Shop Diagnostic Fee
(Included in service charges)
$170
154 Reviews
61 Auto Center
address
1226 Centre Ave, Reading, PA
AC Accumulator Replacement Cost
Fair Cost Estimate for This Shop
$126
(Parts - $56, Labor - $70)
Shop Diagnostic Fee
(Included in service charges)
$70
174 Reviews
Yoo's Auto Service & Collision
address
189 W Duncannon Ave, Philadelphia, PA
AC Accumulator Replacement Cost
Fair Cost Estimate for This Shop
$175
(Parts - $56, Labor - $119)
Shop Diagnostic Fee
(Included in service charges)
$100
129 Reviews
Wrench Inc. ABQ
address
3331 San Mateo Blvd NE, Albuquerque, NM
AC Accumulator Replacement Cost
Fair Cost Estimate for This Shop
$231
(Parts - $56, Labor - $175)
Shop Diagnostic Fee
(Included in service charges)
$150
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How did we vet these shops?

Jerry experts researched 2500+ real repair shops across the US. We talked to real shop customers, and analyzed both real shop pricing data and thousands of real customer reviews from each shop to verify them individually. We do not partner with the shops listed above, and our analysis is always unbiased.

How will a mechanic replace my AC accumulator?

These are the general steps a mechanic will follow to replace your AC accumulator:
  • Evacuate the refrigerant from the HVAC system
  • Locate the AC accumulator
  • Remove the lines connecting the AC system to the accumulator
  • Remove the old accumulator and bracket
  • Remove the old o-rings from the AC lines
  • Install new o-rings to the AC lines
  • Install the new AC accumulator and bracket
  • Connect the AC lines to the accumulator
  • Connect a vacuum pump to the AC system
  • Let the pump run for no fewer than five minutes
  • Turn off the pump and wait five more minutes
  • Remove the vacuum pump
  • Connect an oil injector to the system’s low-pressure side and fill the system with oil
  • Recharge the AC system with refrigerant
  • Start the car, turn on the AC system, and check to ensure that cool air is flowing

What happens if I don’t replace my AC accumulator?

If you don’t replace a faulty AC accumulator, you’ll likely face the following problems:
  • Reduced cooling: The accumulator’s job is to remove moisture from the system. If it fails, moisture can enter the system, resulting in decreased efficiency and cooling. 
  • Air conditioner compressor damage: A faulty accumulator may allow debris and contaminants to enter the compressor. This can cause damage and premature wear, leading to costly compressor repair or even the need for a new AC compressor.
  • Poor air quality: A faulty accumulator will allow contaminants, debris, and moisture into the air conditioning system. This will lead to bad smells and poor air quality.
  • AC system failure: A bad accumulator can result in blockages in the AC system. This can cause the entire system to fail.
  • Costly repairs: A faulty accumulator can lead to other AC system damage. This includes the air conditioning compressor, condenser, and evaporator coil. 

What is an AC accumulator?

An AC accumulator—also known as a receiver-drier—is part of your car’s air conditioning system. 
Automotive air conditioning systems have two sides: a high-pressure and a low-pressure side. The accumulator is located on the low-pressure side and is responsible for temporarily storing liquid refrigerant and removing moisture and debris from the refrigerant to protect the system from damage. 
The AC accumulator is a metal canister that contains a desiccant. It plays a key role in maintaining the efficiency and proper functioning of the AC system. 

When should I replace the AC accumulator on my car?

You should replace your AC accumulator if it fails or you open the AC system to perform repairs. The most common signs of accumulator failure include:
  • Rattling sounds during AC operation: One of the primary symptoms of a bad accumulator is a rattling sound during AC operation. This may indicate damage or corrosion inside the accumulator.
  • Noticeable refrigerant leaks: A failed accumulator may begin to leak refrigerant. If you notice pools of clear, oily liquid beneath the front of your vehicle, it could be a sign of AC accumulator failure.
  • Reduced cooling: If the accumulator goes bad, the AC system may struggle to produce cold air.
  • A foul smell when the AC is in use: If the accumulator allows moisture or contaminants to enter the AC system, you’ll likely notice a moldy smell coming from the vents. 
Keep in mind: These symptoms can indicate other HVAC system issues, like a faulty compressor, a dirty cabin air filter, or a bad evaporator. The best way to get an accurate diagnosis is to visit a certified mechanic.

How often do I need to replace my AC accumulator?

There is no set replacement interval for the AC accumulator, but there are two scenarios in which you should replace it: any time you open the AC unit for repairs and any time the accumulator fails. 
Common signs of accumulator failure include a foul smell coming from the vents, a rattling sound, and noticeable refrigerant leaks. 

Can I replace my AC accumulator myself?

An AC accumulator replacement can make a solid DIY project if you have the right know-how. It requires mid-level mechanical experience and access to basic tools. Moderately experienced home mechanics shouldn’t have any issues completing the project, but novices may be better off contacting a professional automotive HVAC technician.

FAQs

If your AC accumulator goes bad, you’ll likely face the following issues:
  • Reduced cooling
  • Compressor damage
  • AC system leaks
  • A foul smell
  • Ice on the evaporator 
  • Expensive AC repairs
An AC accumulator may freeze up for the following reasons:
  • Low refrigerant levels
  • Blocked airflow
  • A faulty expansion valve or orifice tube
  • Moisture contamination
  • Thermostat issues
  • Mechanical problems
  • Extremely cold ambient temperatures
The following warning signs are indicators that you may need a new AC accumulator:
  • Reduced cooling
  • Refrigerant leaks
  • Excessive moisture
  • Foul odors
  • Rattling noises
  • Compressor cycling problems

Meet Our Experts

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John Davis
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Car Expert
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Certified mechanic with 10+ years of experience
John Davis is an expert automotive writer and former automotive mechanic. John's work spans multiple categories, and he relishes the opportunity to research a new subject and expand his area of expertise and industry knowledge. To date, John has written more than 200 articles covering car maintenance and care, car advice, how-to guides, and more.
Prior to joining Jerry’s editorial team, John worked as a mechanic and freelance writer, creating content for clients including HotCars and SetPower.
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Jessica Barrett
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Car Expert
Jessica Barrett is a senior insurance writer and editor with 10 years of experience in the automotive and travel industries. A specialist in car insurance, car loans, and car ownership, Jessica’s mission is to create comprehensive content that car owners can use to manage their costs and improve their lives. As a managing editor for a team of writers and insurance specialists, Jessica has edited over 2,000 articles for Jerry on topics ranging from local insurance shopping tips to refinancing car loans with bad credit.
Before joining Jerry as a senior content editor in 2021, Jessica created visual content for clients such as Expedia, Vivid Seats, Budget Direct Car Insurance, Angie’s List, and HomeAdvisor. Her content was published in Business Insider, Forbes, Apartment Therapy, and the BBC.
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Kathleen Flear
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Car Expert
Kathleen Flear is an expert insurance writer and editor who heads up Jerry’s editorial team as director of content. Kathleen empowers drivers to make smart car ownership decisions through  best-in-class articles on insurance, loans, and maintenance. Prior to joining Jerry in 2021, Kathleen served as managing editor for a team of SEO content marketing professionals at Article-Writing.co and worked as a freelance writer and editor for a range of digital publications, including Chicago Literati magazine and Golden Words. She earned a bachelor’s degree in English language and literature from Queen’s University, and a master’s degree in creative writing and fiction from Sierra Nevada University.
*The price information provided on our car repair webpages is intended for general informational purposes only. Actual prices for car repair services may vary based on various factors, including but not limited to the make and model of your vehicle, the extent of repair required, and the prevailing market conditions. All prices for real repair shops are estimations based on our research only. Therefore, the prices listed on our webpages should not be considered as final quotes or binding offers.