Amplitude models are constructed to describe the resonance structure of D 0 → K - π + π + π - and D 0 → K + π - π - π + decays using pp collision data collected at centre-of-mass energies of 7 and 8 TeV with the LHCb experiment, corresponding to an integrated luminosity of 3.0 f b - 1 . The largest contributions to both decay amplitudes are found to come from axial resonances, with decay modes D 0 → a 1 ( 1260 ) + K - and D 0 → K 1 ( 1270 / 1400 ) + π - being prominent in D 0 → K - π + π + π - and D 0 → K + π - π - π + , respectively. Precise measurements of the lineshape parameters and couplings of the a 1 ( 1260 ) + , K 1 ( 1270 ) - and K ( 1460 ) - resonances are made, and a quasi model-independent study of the K ( 1460 ) - resonance is performed. The coherence factor of the decays is calculated from the amplitude models to be R K 3 π = 0.459 ± 0.010 ( stat ) ± 0.012 ( syst ) ± 0.020 ( model ) , which is consistent with direct measurements. These models will be useful in future measurements of the unitary-triangle angle γ and studies of charm mixing and C P violation.