The cartridge drier is a component that protects all of the other parts of the A/C loop. It is located on the same side as the condenser outlet, on the high pressure side of the circuit.
The cartridge drier has different roles:
- To retain moisture and contaminants from the system (during the cartridge drier’s life time)
- To finalize and secure the condensation of the fluid
- To compensate for variations in the fluid volume
- To ensure oil return to the compressor
Valeo recommends that the cartridge drier be replaced every 3 years. Regularly replacing the filter prevents serious system failures and costly replacement of the other components in the air conditioning system.
The cartridge drier must be replaced whenever the circuit is opened. For example, after an accident in which the condenser was damaged, the cartridge drier must be replaced, or the desiccator will no longer retain the humidity in the circuit. It will become saturated with humidity. Due to its role, the cartridge drier is hygroscopic. Therefore the basic rules must be heeded when replacing it on a vehicle or the new cartridge drier may be damaged. Cartridge driers are fitted with compulsory plugs that must be removed as late as possible, i.e. just before they are installed.
If the cartridge drier is not replaced, the operation of the loop will deteriorate and you will be at risk of a breakdown (blocked expansion valve, impurities in the circuit, etc.). The cartridge drier must always be installed in the loop at the very last moment, just before the vacuum procedure.