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AC Receiver Dryer Replacement Cost Estimate

Worried you might overpay for your AC receiver dryer replacement? Use Jerry’s GarageGuard™ to get fair cost estimate for your AC receiver dryer replacement.
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John Davis
Expert Automotive Writer
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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 receiver dryer?

The average cost for a receiver dryer replacement is $321, with $102 for parts and $215 for labor. Prices vary depending on your vehicle and mechanic costs in your area. 
How long does it take to replace an AC receiver dryer? It doesn’t take very long to swap out parts. A certified mechanic can usually do the job in 2.0 hours, including the time it takes to inspect and diagnose the AC.
Check out this overview of AC receiver replacement costs for different vehicles:
Estimate DateCustomerCarFair Cost EstimateParts CostLabor CostLabor Time
May 22, 2024
Geo Metro
$437
$108
$329
2.8 Hours
May 21, 2024
Oldsmobile Alero
$332
$108
$224
2.8 Hours
May 21, 2024
Mitsubishi Eclipse
$407
$108
$299
2.8 Hours
May 18, 2024
Ram 1500
$476
$108
$368
2.8 Hours
May 16, 2024
Kia Seltos
$332
$108
$224
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 timing belt replacement?

In addition to gloves, eye protection, and basic automotive tools, here’s what your mechanic needs to do the replacement:
  1. Receiver dryer: The dryer is the main component, and it’s connected to the AC lines. The dryer removes moisture and filters debris, so the coolant can easily move throughout the unit. A new receiver dryer will set you back about $10 to $20. The part is inexpensive because you should be replacing it at least every three years.
Some reputable brands we recommend for receiver dryers include UAC, Four Seasons, and Spectra Premium. You can purchase an AC receiver dryer from retailers such as AutoZone, Amazon, and RockAuto.
Keep in mind: The certified mechanic also uses a coolant evacuation machine to remove coolant from the system. The EPA regulates coolant use, so it’s important to have a mechanic safely do this procedure.
Usually, you won’t see a huge difference in quality, but you’ll see a price difference. If you’re on a tight budget, aftermarket replacement parts can make AC repair more affordable. However, if your car is under warranty, you risk voiding the warranty by installing aftermarket replacement parts.
If you choose to use OEM parts, you’ve got to get them through a dealership service center. For aftermarket dryer replacement parts, shop at auto body stores or auto parts shops like AutoZone. You can also buy parts online on Amazon and RockAuto.

Where can I get my AC receiver dryer replaced?

No one likes taking their car to the mechanic, and it’s even more of a hassle if you don’t already have a trusted repair shop. Let Jerry's
GarageGuard™
do some of the work! The free car maintenance app compares fair price estimates from over 2,500 vetted repair shops in the US. 
Jerry's GarageGuard™ shows you the real hourly labor rate, what’s included in the estimate, and reviews from customers to help you choose the best service.
Take a look at a few of our vetted shops below and download the app to compare car repair quotes in your area.
171 Reviews
Vandorn Auto Repair
address
4938C Eisenhower Ave, Springfield, VA
AC Receiver Dryer Replacement Cost
Fair Cost Estimate for This Shop
$254
(Parts - $49, Labor - $205)
Shop Diagnostic Fee
(Included in service charges)
$170
184 Reviews
Cleve-Hill Auto & Tire - Buffalo
address
1050 Main St, Buffalo, NY
AC Receiver Dryer Replacement Cost
Fair Cost Estimate for This Shop
$220
(Parts - $49, Labor - $171)
Shop Diagnostic Fee
(Included in service charges)
$140
192 Reviews
Elmwood Certified Auto Service
address
302 Broadway, Alpine, NJ
AC Receiver Dryer Replacement Cost
Fair Cost Estimate for This Shop
$220
(Parts - $49, Labor - $171)
172 Reviews
Pep Boys Auto Parts & Service - East San Jose #828
address
2730 Story Rd, San Jose, CA
AC Receiver Dryer Replacement Cost
Fair Cost Estimate for This Shop
$236
(Parts - $49, Labor - $187)
Shop Diagnostic Fee
(Included in service charges)
$100
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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 receiver dryer?

Your car’s AC is a complex system of intricate parts. Here’s how the mechanic will make the necessary repairs:
  1. Evacuate the coolant: Your mechanic uses a vacuum pump machine to remove the coolant from the AC lines.
  2. Disconnect the battery cable and disconnect the receiver dryer: They use a wrench to disconnect the negative cable, and they’ll unplug any connections to the receiver dryer before disconnecting the AC lines.
  3. Remove the AC receiver dryer: Next, they’ll pull the dryer out of the unit and set it aside.
  4. Install the new receiver dryer: The mechanic measures the oil in the dryer and replaces the pressure line o-rings. Then, they’ll put the new dryer into position and secure it.
  5. Reinstall the lines and electronic components: At this point, the mechanic will reconnect the AC lines and the negative battery cable. 
  6. Recharge the AC system: They’ll put new coolant into the AC and test the cool air once they’re all finished.

What happens if you don’t replace your receiver dryer?

The receiver dryer might not sound like an essential car part, but if you don’t remove the old desiccant pellets, they’ll start to break down. When they do, they may clog the expansion valve, which can damage the compressor
It all comes down to moisture. If the dryer isn’t removing moisture from the AC, it combines with the cooling refrigerant to make hydrochloric acid. If that sounds bad, it’s because it is! Hydrochloric acid is corrosive to metal, so you risk damaging other AC parts if you don’t replace the dryer promptly.

What is an AC receiver dryer?

The receiver dryer looks like a small black jar with an air conditioning line going out of each end. It’s located on the high pressure side of your car’s AC in between the AC condenser and evaporator.
You probably already know that coolant or refrigerant moves throughout the system, switching from gas to liquid and back again. As the coolant circulates, it passes through the receiver dryer, where the dryer filters out moisture and contaminants.
The receiver dryer is made up of three parts, the container or housing, the inlet/outlet, and the desiccant sack. The sack is full of desiccant pellets that absorb moisture. The inlet/outlet allows the coolant to flow throughout the system, and the container temporarily holds oil and coolant.
Tip: You’ll sometimes see the receiver dryer spelled “receiver drier.” This is the same part.

How do you know if a receiver dryer is bad?

It’s always a little tricky to pinpoint problems with the AC, but here are signs that the receiver dryer is worn or damaged:
  1. Strange sounds when the AC runs: Your AC should be silent when you’re using it. Any unusual or different sounds are a sign that your system needs an inspection.
  2. Wide variance in the cabin temperature: Pay attention to the temperature when you’re driving or riding in the car. If the air temperature swings widely back and forth between hot and cold, the receiver dryer might be struggling.
  3. Mold or mildew smell: An old receiver dryer might not be doing its job of removing moisture from the system, so mold and mildew have a chance to grow. If you notice lingering smells when you turn on the AC, get it checked out.
  4. AC maintenance history: If it’s been more than three years since you’ve had the AC serviced, the receiver dryer almost definitely needs to be replaced. 

How often should a receiver dryer be replaced?

A receiver dryer typically lasts three years before the desiccant pellets inside it become useless. Experts recommend that you get your car’s AC serviced once a year, so check the receiver dryer during the annual inspection.

Can I replace the receiver dryer myself?

Since the coolant must be drained in order to replace the dryer, this is a job best left to the professionals. Hire a certified technician trained to work on air conditioners, and they’ll get the job done in no time.

FAQs

The good news is that receiver dryers are usually very dependable, so you can expect to get the standard three-year lifespan from a replacement.
The dryer won’t work if debris from the AC system is clogging it or if the desiccant pellet bag breaks open and the pellets spread throughout the AC unit.

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.