My power steering in my 06 lacrosse went out a few months ago. I have continued to drive just harder to turn. A few days ago the car started making a high pitched whining sound. Just wondering if I am going to damage something if I have to drive to work. Appreciate any help with this. This is my only means of transportation I don't have enough money to take it to an actual shop need someone to do it as a side job!!!!!
It depends on why the power steering "went out", but if there's something wrong with the pump or a leak caused the pump to run dry there is a possibility the pump could fail catastrophically and make the serpentine belt come off. I wouldn't say that is very likely, but then again, you've been driving it for months. When I was young my dad drove a truck for years after the steering went out, so I guess all I can say is that it's a gamble.
If the belt comes off, your alternator is going to stop which will cause your car to eventually die and not start again. The battery light coming on will be your first sign that the belt is loose or broken. It would also cause the water pump to stop which would cause the car to overheat and could get very serious if you didn't stop.
For now, start the car and watch the belt and all the pulleys to make sure the pump isn't frozen up. Keep clear of the belt! They can easily take off fingers. If the pump seems to be turning slower than normal it's probably slipping and will cause the belt to fail quickly - don't drive it or plan on getting stuck somewhere.
Since you are in "can't afford to fix it" mode, the best thing to do would be to take off the belt and inspect the power steering pump. See if the pulley is loose and see if it turns freely. If it's hard to turn or wobbles, you're going to want to replace the pump. That usually isn't a terribly difficult job, but on some cars it can be a pain.