If you return to the parking lot after shopping for groceries and you notice a scratch or dent on your car, it may have been from a shopping cart. Shopping carts can be pushed by the wind and collide with your car while it's sitting in the parking lot.
If you notice that your car has been damaged while you're shopping, you'll need to file an incident report with the manager of the grocery store. You'll need a copy of the report if you want to file an insurance claim later. Afterward, here's what you should do in order to repair the damage done to your vehicle.
Clean the Damaged Area Thoroughly
A shopping cart can transfer small bits of paint, dirt, and metal into the scratch when it collides with your car, and you'll need to clean it up so that you can estimate how deep the scratch goes. Clean it with soap and water to remove all of the debris, scrubbing it vigorously with a microfiber cloth to make sure they're all removed.
See How Deep the Scratch Goes
Once the scratch is clean, carefully examine it to see how deep the shopping cart cut into your car's paint. If you notice exposed metal, you'll need to take your car to a collision repair shop to have it sanded down and repainted. This means that the shopping cart scraped all the way through the paint and primer layers of your car's body. Bare metal will rust if it's exposed to the elements, and the rust can quickly spread deeper into your car's body. It needs to be repainted to stop the metal from rusting.
Thankfully, shopping carts aren't very heavy and don't usually move at high speeds when they're blown by the wind, so scratches in the clear coat or paint layer are more common. You can buff out a scratch in the clear coat layer by polishing it with an auto-detailing cloth. If the scratch doesn't come out, it means that the scratch extended into the paint layer. You can use a touch-up pen that matches the color of your car to fill in the missing paint, which will keep the metal underneath protected and restore the appearance of your car.
Have Dents Repaired at a Collision Center
If the shopping cart dented your car when it hit, take your car to a collision center that offers paintless dent repair. Paintless dent repair involves carefully pulling on the dent and hammering it out to make the car's panel smooth again. It's a quick and inexpensive repair that doesn't require any paint to be removed or reapplied.
Overall, the most important thing to keep in mind about repairing collision damage done by a shopping cart is that you need to make sure your car's body doesn't have any exposed metal. Bare metal can rust very quickly when exposed to rain and moisture, and the rust can spread extensively throughout your car's metal components. If you notice exposed metal, protect your car by taking it to a collision center to have the damaged areas repainted — while scratches in the paint and clear coat can be fixed on your own, scratches that go all the way through to your car's metal need to be repaired by a professional.
Visit a collision center to learn more.