You can buy a new carrier and have it plated. Instead of the soft and easily damaged bright nickel, I'd go with bright polished hard chrome. It's FAR more durable.
I doubt either chrome or nickel will help if the steel is deforming. Plate it and it will keep deforming. A thin layer of metal over the top won't make any difference.
As the underlying steel deforms, the plating will likely come off--and for what it's worth, chrome will probably flake & chip before nickel will.