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I recharge my car battery on the Ford Fiesta 2006 and the car started first time. I let it run for a good 10 minutes then discovered central locking wasn’t working on the drivers door. I tried reprogramming and tried to start the car again, and it was not turning over at all, only dashboard lights were coming on.

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The symptoms you report are those of a partially or fully discharged battery. Ten minutes' running is insufficient to even partially charge a discharged battery.

To troubleshoot, you must start with a fully charged battery installed in the car. Either put the battery you have on a suitable charger for enough time, or replace the battery you have with a new, fully-charged battery. Remember that "putting it on a suitable charger for enough time" will fail if the battery you have is defective and cannot hold a charge. How old is the battery?

With a fully-charged battery in the car, see if the engine starts. If it does start, the main issue was the battery in the car was insufficiently charged or was defective.

You won't be able to further troubleshoot why the battery might have been insufficiently charged (a problem with the charging system, or not driving the vehicle enough to keep the battery charged) or defective (likely due to age, but possible even when new) until you have a fully-charged good-condition battery in the vehicle.

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You should check alternator. After 10-15mins of engine running, your system (cigarette lighter or battery) should have more than 13.7V and less than 15V. If not, your alternator is broken.

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  • "running" is that leaving at idle? many alternators have little output at idle, or "running" at 2000rpm? much better for full output of the alternator or "running" as driving to work with a varying rev range? And note some systems do charge at 15.3V... – Solar Mike May 13 at 7:44
  • On most cars, it does not really matter after few minutes, if engine is on idle or in load. Best practice is to do test drive with various conditions and be sure, that voltage is always in range. What car systems have charge voltage over 15V? Basic lead-acid ones have 14.2V and Ford's silver calcium have 14.4V with max 14.8V – 110mat110 May 13 at 8:05
  • There are cars with charging voltages that exceed 15V under certain conditions - I own one and have the workshop manual stating that. I will leave it to you to find out as an exercise but do be careful about sweeping statements. – Solar Mike May 13 at 8:56
  • We are talking about Ford Fiesta 2006. It should have silver calcium battery by default. That one must not exceed 15V. In many cases users replaced them with classic lead-acid ones (me too). Car can run with normal battery without problem. I know, that flooded lead acid battery can have charging voltage way over 15V but it is not case in most cars – 110mat110 May 13 at 9:06

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