Sears Lawn tractor won't start

My 5 years old Sears Lawn tractor won't start today. The engine keeps spinning, but won't start. I checked spark plug and fuel filter, They both looks fine. I had a new battery.
Recently I had smoke coming out of exhaust, so I had to keep oil level low. Will engine oil damage parts in combustion chamber?
I have very little knowdge on engines. Anyone has idea? Your help is appreciated.
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joseph snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

level
1. Fuel 2. Spark 3. Timing
Dribble a tablespoon or so of fuel into the carb and see if it starts. If it starts & runs a few seconds, you've got a fuel problem.
Pull the plugs and make sure there's no gob of black gunk on the tip. If so, replace them.
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The spark is new and fine. I opened the output clamp of fuel filter and see the gas coming out smoothly. How do I dribbling fuel into carb? Through air filter area?
Thanks.
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joseph snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

"Starting Fluid" in a spray can is available at auto stores and some hardware stores. It's diethyl ether so use it outside.
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Joe,
Take the cover off of your air filter. Spray starter fluid on the filter ( this is very flammable). Try to start the mower. If the mower runs or coughs then you have a blocked up carburetor.
Dave M.
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Thanks everyone.
I will try this weekend. But if the carburetor clogged, what is the next step? Replace it? Clean it? I already schedule Sears to come in about a week. They say $96 just to come. I am trying to figure out the most economic way to get this fixed. If I end up spending another 300 dollors to fix this old machine, it might not worth it.
I like to hear your opinions.
Thanks again.
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joseph snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

I've not paid real attention past the "ran w/ low oil" part, which makes me think all kind of bad things, but I'd have two alternatives for repair if you don't want to go at it yourself...
1. There are bound to be small engine repair shops/handy-man fixit places. Take it to one of them.
2. If you have a vo-tech school, often they have small engine repair classes and need things to work on.
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I simply gotta raise my prices.
--

Christopher A. Young
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