Key in ignition - not


New member
My 1998 Lincoln Continental always thinks a key is in the ignition, even when the key is in my hand. There is a sensor which tests to see if a key is in the ignition lock switch. Unfortunately, this sensor always thinks the key is in the ignition. So when I open the car door to get in, the warning chime makes a lot of noise. Also I can't lock the car doors any more. This issue started after I removed the ignition lock cylinder and put it back in, so apparently I did something wrong, although I have no idea what. The car is drivable, so at least I got that part right. If you could help me fix my nice old car, that would be really nice.


Junior Member
Probably need to go to the forum for the older series Continental and Town Cars. This forum is for the 2017 - 2019 series.

Go on line, find a wiring diagram for the car (Google it): you apparently have crossed a wire or failed to install it correctly when you installed the new switch. But you will need the wiring diagram. Not familiar with your car, it is possible you might also need the computer reprogrammed.


Junior Member
Hi David. There may be a temporary workaround for the door locking problem. I am not sure with your model year, but does your car have the keyless entry keypad on the exterior of the drivers door? If yes, simultaneously pressing the 7/8 and 9/0 buttons will lock the doors.

As far as a permanent fix: As jhartz mentioned, there is obviously an issue from when you removed and reinstalled the ignition lock cylinder. So the obvious questions...such as have you tried to manipulating/jiggling the ignition cylinder while the door is open to see if the chimes stop? Have you tried remove and reinstalling the lock cylinder again?

I have seen this occur in the past, although not on a Town Car. In that case, it was worn ignition lock cylinder. Jiggling the cylinder was a short term fix to stop the chimes. Long term fix was replacing the cylinder.

Hopefully you have the exterior keyless keypad, then at least let you can lock your car.

Keep us updated and good luck.


New member
I didn't completely fix my car, but it is a whole lot better! Thanks everybody for your suggestions, they were quite helpful.

I found a springy copper contact on a wire that usually connects to the lock cylinder. I decided to let the darn thing dangle and not connect to anything anymore ever again. Now my car chime never thinks the key is in the ignition. Lucky for me the ignition system knows better. So now that obnoxious chime does not alert me when the key is in the ignition and the door is open. Quite an improvement. Sometimes the best thing to do with alerts is just disable them forever. However, I don't recommend this strategy for your smoke alarm or the baby monitor ;-).

So my car isn't perfect, heck it's a 1998, it's never going to be perfect. It's not perfect, but it's quiet, looks nice, and takes me down the road. Hopefully my wheels will last until 2022 and my next campaign for mayor. Here's what she looks like:


Senior Member
Ottawa Ontario Canada
That sounds like a perimeter alarm sensor to detect ignition switch tampering. The LCM controls that feature so may have failed. I will try and check to see if the air bags will deploy if the car does not have a key in ignition (according to LCM), but is running (engine operating and drive engaged). Parked cars don't usually have air bags deploy when hit if the key is not in ignition.

I hope your air bags can deploy if required. Sorry to be a worry-wart!