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I just did a 97 Regal yesterday and yes you are correct...the strip must be removed to gain access...depending on model you may have to remove the cushioning panel (piece of upholstery panel) on the inside of trunk lid...follow this video URL as it explains the removal better in video form than written..basically remove the 7 10mm nuts holding panel on, lower trunk lid a little and wiggle panel off, twist socket and remove to gain bulb access..install is reverse procedure ...Regal, Century and LeSabre are all same idea/setup Tail Light Change 1997 2005 Buick Century 2004 Buick Century Custom 3 1L V6
The light will be fitted from inside the trunk. You might need to remove any trim or lining on the trunk lid. There will be 5 small nuts on the inside of the trunk lid. 2 each end and one centre. The light should drop out. It could be tight so GENTLY rock it up and down to free it.
** NOTE ** The light fitting is likely to be a sealed unit so you will have to replace the whole light as you cant get access to the bulbs.
This can be caused by your trunk lid not being all the way shut . But the most times this has happened to me the separator panel that lifts out toward you and latches to separate top from trunk space is not lifted into the latched position.. very frustrating till i figured it out. Hope this helps helps.