Hydraulic brakes were initially popular in the golf cart industry many years ago because the technology was readily available and easily borrowed from the automotive industry. Later, many manufacturers abandoned their hydraulic brake roots, in an effort to keep production costs down and moved to cable activated drum brakes. In recent years, due to safety concerns and increased speeds from performance modifications or the use of Low Speed Vehicles on public roads, hydraulic brakes are making a comeback in the golf cart and electric vehicle industries.
Hydraulic brakes operate on a principle or pressurized fluid. If you have a closed system of fluid and pressure is applied through the brake pedal, it has to go somewhere. The fluid is pressed wherever needed in the system and is used to expand components within the master cylinder, which in turn pushes fluid to the wheel cylinders causing them to activate the wheel brake system, whether it is drums or disks.
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