While the OC and GMP were here it was noted that the driver's side tail-lamp was not working as it should. At first the lamp would not light up at random. We wondered if it was a short or loose wire. And then over the weekend it failed entirely.
The left turn signal wouldn't signal. The green left arrow on our dash didn't blink - it just lit up dumbly. Same with the yellow left turn lamp up front.
Now that it is late autumn, darkness comes early and night driving is more often the case than not. Thus the situation is/was clearly not acceptable.
I stopped by the autoparts store on the way home tonight for a replacement bulb. I found out you can't just get one; you have to buy a set. I think it's because the tail-lamp assembly comes with two bulbs and you're supposed to replace both at the same time.
When I got home, I popped the rear hatch to expose the two screws that held the top of the lamp-unit in place. I ratcheted them out in short order and then pried the lamp unit away from the body of the van. I messed around for about ten minutes trying to take out the bottom two screws that held the lower part of the lamp-unit before I realized they're supposed to stay in, more or less, and the lamp-unit can swing out far enough to release the bulb mounts from the rear of it.
If I was more on the ball I would have figured out right away that it was the top (and more accessible) bulb that was burnt out, but no, it took me another ten minutes of wasted effort removing and testing the lower bulb before I turned my attention to the actual culprit.
As soon as I twisted the mount out of its socket and had a look at the bulb I knew it was toast. You're supposed to push the bulb in and then twist it to get it out. In this case the bulb's base was corroded into place and I ended up twisting the bulb itself out of its base. Five minutes later, after some persuasion with a handy set of channel lock pliers, I had the base out and the new bulb in.